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GSK said to consider sale of UK Horlicks business, hold on to India unit

LiveMint logoLiveMint 19-07-2017 Ben Hirschler

London: GlaxoSmithKline Plc is planning to sell its small Horlicks business in Britain but will retain the much larger operation in India, where the nutritional brand is growing strongly, a person familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

The move dovetails with another move by new chief executive officer Emma Walmsley to divest the UK-focused MaxiNutrition sports nutrition brand.

The company declined to comment.

In Britain, where Horlicks is sold as a bedtime drink, the product has largely fallen out of favour and sales are very limited. Indian demand for Horlicks, by contrast, is strong and GSK has developed the malted barley milk drink into its top consumer brand in the country.

Selling both MaxiNutrition, which GSK bought for £162 million($210 million) in 2010, and the British arm of Horlicks, which is an even smaller business, will not move the dial at the drugmaker, given its market value of £79 billion.

But the moves show Walmsley is putting her mark on the company, after taking over in April. She will outline her wider vision for GSK alongside half-year results next week.

Horlicks is more than 140 years old with origins dating back to 1873, when two British-born men, James and William Horlick, first founded a company in Chicago to manufacture the drink.

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