Bull Frog heads South: Chattem Inc. sells sunblock line to Florida company

Bull Frog heads South: Chattem Inc. sells sunblock line to Florida company

February 12th, 2013 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Chattem, Inc., CEO Zan Guerry, right, holds a bottle of Rolaids as he is photographed with Blair Ramey, senior vice president of corporate development and media, executive vice president Robert Long and executive vice president John Stroud in the company's corporate office building in St. Elmo.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

CHATTEM

• Key brands - Allegra, Icy Hot, Gold Bond, ACT, Selsun Blue, Rolaids

SUN & SKIN CARE RESEARCH

• Key brands - Ocean Potion, No-Ad, Parrot Head from Margaritaville, Bull Frog

Source: Companies

BullFrog sunscreen.

Bull Frog, invented for surfers in the 1980s, is going back to its roots so to speak.

Chattanooga-based Chattem Inc. has sold its long-time sunblock line to Sun & Skin Care Research in Cocoa, Fla., one of the East Coast's top surfing areas.

"We're thrilled," said Tom Nestor, the Florida company's executive vice president of sales and marketing. "It has great consumer appeal."

For Chattem, the sale is a divesting of a product that didn't fit the company anymore, said Robert Long, Chattem's executive vice president.

He said Chattem doesn't have "a sun-care platform," particularly with the sale of Phisoderm several years ago.

"It's an ordinary course of business divestiture," said Long, adding that the Bull Frog sale won't result in the loss of any Chattem jobs.

The sale price wasn't announced.

Bull Frog was one of Chattem's best-known brands. Bull Frog was launched in California in 1985, and Chattem bought it shortly thereafter from its inventor, said Long.

Bull Frog was the first sun care brand to provide water resistant protection, and it was the initial mass-marketed sunscreen and insect repellent line. Bull Frog Mosquito Coast is the top-selling combination sunscreen and insect repellent, according to the companies.

However, Bull Frog had become one of Chattem's smaller brands with the company taking sales of allergy medicine Allegra over the counter for parent Sanofi.

Also, in 2007, Chattem purchased a handful of brands from Johnson & Johnson, including sleep-aid Unisom, anti-itch creme Cortizone, anti-cavity mouthwash Act, anti-diarrhea product Kaopectate and diaper rash reliever Balmex.

Earlier this year, Chattem announced it had bought antacid Rolaids from McNeil. The company plans to relaunch Rolaids in the market later this year with new packaging and advertising.

Chattem CEO Zan Guerry said in January that the company's sales last year topped $1 billion for the first time in its 134-year history.

Privately held Sun & Skin Care Research specializes in sun protection and skin care products. The company's portfolio includes Ocean Potion, No-Ad and Parrot Head from Margaritaville.

Steve Taylor, chief executive officer of Sun & Skin Care Research, said in a statement that Bull Frog is an iconic brand.

He said Bull Frog "will respond positively to our laser focus on the sun care category

Nestor declined to give Bull Frog sales figures, but said the company "absolutely" will grow the business.

"I think it has great potential," he said. "[Chattem] took great care of it."