GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK), the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker, plans to buy shares in its publicly traded Indian and Nigerian consumer-products subsidiaries, boosting its stake in businesses that are growing faster than branded pharmaceuticals.
Glaxo offered to buy as many as 13.4 million shares of India’s GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd. for 3,900 rupees each, or a total of 52.2 billion rupees ($940 million), the London-based company said in a statement today.
Glaxo also will buy about 321 million shares of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc at 48 naira a share, for a total of 15.4 billion naira ($100 million), Glaxo said in a separate statement.
The Indian unit sells Horlicks and Boost nutritional drinks, Sensodyne toothpaste and Eno antacid, among other consumer products. Horlicks is India’s top packaged beverage behind bottled water and sells more than twice as much as PepsiCo Inc.’s namesake cola.
David Redfern, chief strategy officer for, GSK noted: “GSK Consumer Healthcare is a well established business in India and its leading product, Horlicks, is an iconic household brand. This transaction represents a further step in GSK’s strategy to invest in the world’s fastest growing markets and, we believe, offers a liquidity opportunity at an attractive premium for existing shareholders.”
The offer price in both cases is about 28 percent above the last close for the shares.
The drugmaker has two subsidiaries in India, one of which sells over-the-counter consumer products such as nutritional drinks and cookies, and the other sells prescription drugs such as the antibiotic Augmentin.
Sales at the Indian consumer unit have increased 19 percent annually over the past five years, while the Nigerian company’s revenue has increased 21 percent annually in the past four years. Glaxo’s pharmaceutical sales fell 2 percent at constant exchange rates in the first nine months of this year.
The Nigerian unit manufactures, markets and distributes consumer-health brands including Sensodyne, Horlicks and the Lucozade sports drink. The company also sells pharmaceutical products including antibiotics such as Augmentin and vaccines, according to the company.
If Glaxo buys the maximum amount of shares in the offers, the company’s stake in the India unit will rise to 75 percent from 43.2 percent and its holding of the Nigeria operation will climb to 80 percent from 46.4 percent. Indian law requires a minimum public shareholding of 25 percent, while 20 percent is needed for a Nigerian stock listing.
Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, chairman ofGSK Nigeria backed the deal.
“The Board of Directors unanimously believes that the proposal is in the best interests of the continued growth of the company, the shareholders, employees and customers, the community and Nigeria and intends to recommend it to shareholders,” he said in a statement.
Added GSK’s Redfern: “This Proposal to increase GSK’s ownership of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria reiterates our long term support of the Company’s strategy and our confidence in the continuing growth prospects of the business.”
GSK operates its North American headquarters in RTP.
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(Bloomberg contributed to this report.)