Unilever to buy GSK’s Horlicks business for €3.3bn

HorlicksMultinational FMCG giant Unilever has agreed to acquire GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Health Food Drinks portfolio, including Horlicks, in India, Bangladesh and 20 other predominantly Asian markets.

The addition of the health brands will boost Unilever’s position in India.

“We are delighted to be acquiring the GSK Health Food Drinks portfolio. The iconic Horlicks brand has a deep heritage, credibility and resonance around the world. The acquisition is transformative for our Foods and Refreshment business allowing us to enter the Health Foods Drinks category, further strengthening our position in health and wellness,” Nitin Paranjpe, president, Food & Refreshment, Unilever, said.

“It is rare to be able to acquire brands with such leading market positions and fantastic consumer equity in one of the world’s most exciting and fast-growing markets. Improving the health and well being of 1 billion people by 2020 is a key pillar in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. Horlicks and Boost will add to our stable of purpose driven brands that help consumers to get more out of their lives.”

Unilever agreed to an all-Equity Merger of Hindustan Unilever with the publicly listed GSK Consumer Healthcare India; acquisition of 82 per cent stake in GSK Bangladesh and acquisition of certain other commercial operations and assets outside India.

The FMCG giant’s share of the total consideration is €3.3bn and shares in its listed subsidiary in India, Hindustan Unilever Limited. In 2018, GSK HFD delivered total turnover of c.€550m, through Horlicks and Boost brands – almost 90 per cent of the turnover is in India.

“With this strategic merger of Hindustan Unilever and GSK Consumer Healthcare India Limited, we will be expanding our portfolio through great brands into a new category catering to the nutritional needs of our consumers. I am confident that this merger will create significant shareholder value through both revenue and cost synergies. The turnover of our Foods & Refreshments business will now exceed Rs. 100bn and we will become one of the largest F&R businesses in the country. We look forward to welcoming new brands and great talent into the Unilever and HUL family, once the transaction is complete,” added Sanjiv Mehta, chairman and CEO, Hindustan Unilever.

GSK HFD carries the Horlicks and Boost brands in India. Over the last 15 years, the portfolio increased at a double-digit rate but still remained under-penetrated in the country. Unilever plans to further develop the market under the new deal.

The news follows the recent announcement that Unilever CEO Paul Polman is stepping down from the company in January.

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