GlaxoSmithKline has sold a range of European health products to Omega of Belgium for €470m, as a part of its continued divestment of parts of its consumer division.
The UK-based pharmaceuticals group said the deal included rights to Lactacyd, Abtei, Solpadeine, Zantac, Nytol and Beconase, which generated sales of approximately £185m in 2011. It includes an obligation to maintain the Herrenberg factory in Germany with 110 staff, where some of the products are made.
The sale follows a decision in February last year by Sir Andrew Witty, chief executive, to sell off a range of products and businesses with annual sales of about £500m so that it could “focus on priority brands and markets”.
Marc Coucke, head of Omega, which specialises in over-the-counter products, said: “Several brands from the acquisition will become part of Omega Pharma’s top-20 brands . . . The proposed transaction will also provide Omega Pharma with the required critical mass in a number of key European markets – ie Germany, the UK, Poland and Italy.”
Simon Dingemans, chief financial officer at GSK, said: “The divestment of our non-core brands in Europe builds on the recent successful sale of our US and Canadian assets . . . The objective of this divestment process is to generate attractive returns for shareholders as well as simplifying our ongoing consumer business and enabling it to focus on its priority brands and markets.”
After failing to find a single buyer at an adequate price for the entire package, late last year it concluded the sale of US and Canadian products to Prestige Brands Holdings for $660m. The products included BC, Goody’s, Beano, Ecotrin, Fiber Choice and Tagamet, which generated 2010 sales of £134m.
It continues to seek separate buyers for a range of international non-core consumer brands outside North America and Europe, as well as to find an acquirer for the global rights to Alli, the OTC weight-loss drug it licensed from Roche. Alli, which generated fewer sales than originally hoped with sales of £93m last year, has also had manufacturing problems.
Bain, the private equity fund, had been in the running for parts of the business and could potentially be a buyer for the unsold parts.
Sir Andrew told a press briefing last month he hoped the remaining sales would take place during the first half this year, adding, however, that “it is more important that we get the right deal for the right valuation than we go too quickly”.
GSK said the net profit on disposal of the latest European assets after all transaction costs would be about £230m before tax, and £190m after tax. It said the transaction was due to be completed in the second quarter, and the net cash of £310m generated on the deal would be returned to shareholders during the year.
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