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|Industry||Personal Care Products|
|Founded||Wichita, Kansas, United States (1889)|
|Headquarters||Orchard Park, New York, United States|
|Akiyoshi Yoshida, CEO; Taffy Collopy, Public Relations|
|Revenue||$31.6 Million (est. 2007)|
|Parent||Rohto Pharmaceutical Co.|
The Mentholatum Company, Inc., founded in 1889 by Albert Alexander Hyde, is an American maker of non-prescription health care products. It was bought out by Rohto Pharmaceutical Co., a Japanese health care company, in 1988. The Mentholatum Company is widely associated with its top three products, the Mentholatum Ointment, Mentholatum Deep Heating Rub, and Mentholatum Lip Care.
The beginning of The Mentholatum Company started when Albert Alexander Hyde left the real estate market in 1889. With the collapse of the market, Hyde established a new partnership called The Yucca Company, located in Wichita, Kansas, which focused on manufacturing and marketing shaving creams, laundry soap, and toilet soap. The Yucca Company was the beginning of The Mentholatum Company.
When The Yucca Company started manufacturing a cough syrup containing a blend of camphor and menthol, named Vest Pocket Cough Specific, Hyde became intrigued by the soothing and antiinflammatory effects of menthol. After years of research and experimentation, the company introduced the original "Mentholatum Ointment" in December 1894, which consisted of a combination of menthol and petrolatum. Sales went wild. In 1903, Hyde opened a second office in Buffalo, New York, to handle sales and distribution east of the Mississippi River. In 1906, The Yucca Co. officially incorporated the name "The Mentholatum Company" after its flagship product and no longer sold soap. In 1909 a new factory was built in Wichita, Kansas, and in 1919 a second factory was built in Buffalo. The Wichita factory was closed after the death of A. A. Hyde in 1935 and the corporate offices were moved to Wilmington, Delaware, in 1937 and later to Buffalo in 1945.
The products of the company spread to Japan through the missionary work of the American, William Merrell Vories. When Vories acquired the rights to sell Mentholatum products in 1920, he began importing and selling the product in Japan under the name, "Menturm," which in turn, was marketed through a company called The Omi Sales Company. Business continued to thrive in Japan even after Vories died in 1964.
In 1974, the giant Japanese pharmaceutical company based in Osaka known as Rohto Pharmaceutical Co. set its eyes on The Mentholatum Company. In August 1975, it acquired the trademark rights to Mentholatum and began to sell the Mentholatum Ointment and Mentholatum Medicated Lip Stick, which proved to be a financial success as the company's revenue skyrocketed to ¥2.64 billion by April 1981.
Rohto Pharmaceutical Co. continued to acquire the management rights to The Mentholatum Company in June 1988, thus completing the merge.
In October 1991, The Mentholatum Zhongshan Pharmaceuticals was founded in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province, China, as a joint venture company as well as the headquarters for Chinese expansion. In May 1996, Mentholatum's eye drops began local production and sales in China. P.T. Rhoto Laboratories, Indonesia and a new Tokyo Branch Office was also established in September and December 1996, respectively.
In 1998, Mentholatum moved its headquarters to Sterling Drive in Orchard Park, New York. In the mid-1999, the company released a new eye product called Zi, which is designed to cool and refresh the eyes with natural camphor and pH-balanced purified water solution. Later that year, Zi for Eyes was named "Best New Eyecare Product" in the 1999 Superdrug Health & Beauty Awards. The company continued to manufacture new products, such as Migraine Ice (chill pads for migraine sufferers), Softlips Lip Protectant, Deep Heating Rub, Natural Ice Medicated Lip Balm, Pain Patch, Fisherman's Friend cough drops, Fletcher's Castoria, Red Cross Toothache Remedy, Red Cross Canker Sore Medication, and of course, its original Mentholatum Ointment. By the end of 1999, Mentholatum alone had roughly more than $150 million worth of annual sales.
As of 2005, the company sells its products in more than 130 countries. Mentholatum acquired the Oxy Skin Care branding (but not all the product formulas) from GlaxoSmithKline in December 2005, and targeted the younger, teen audience with new diversified offerings, packaging, and scents. The company further acquired the Phisoderm brand from Chattem Inc. for $9.6 million on November 30, 2005.