HUL gets a health shot with Horlicks, Boost

Unilever invests in India with €3.3bn deal for GlaxoSmithKline's Horlicks

GSK seals £3bn Horlicks sale to Unilever

Since being introduced in the 1930s, Horlicks has built up a strong following in India.

Sold as a bedtime drink in Britain, it was developed into a much bigger brand by GSK in India, although more recently its growth as slowed as urban Indian consumers turn to healthier, less-sugary alternatives.

On the deal specifics, GSK said it meant to sell holding in HUL, post completion of the deal. Such sell down will be in tranches and at such times as GSK considers appropriate, taking into account market conditions.

The deal includes GSK's business in "India, Bangladesh and 20 other predominantly Asian markets... and is aligned with (our) strategy of increasing presence in health food categories and in high-growth emerging markets", Unilever said in a statement.

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As part of the deal, GSK India will merge with Unilever's Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Unilever.

"With this proposed strategic merger with GSK CH India, we will be expanding our portfolio with great brands into a new category catering to the nutritional needs of our consumers".

GlaxoSmithKline had initiated a strategic review of milk drinks brand Horlicks and its other consumer healthcare nutrition products businesses in order to support its $13 billion deal to buy Novartis' 36.5% stake in their consumer healthcare joint venture.

Incidentally, Horlicks is owned by GSK Plc. and is being acquired by HUL's parent entity Unilever, which, in turn, will allow HUL to sell the product in India.

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Emma Walmsley, Chief Executive Officer, GSK, said: "Horlicks has made a significant contribution to GSK and to the health of consumers across India for many decades and we believe Unilever is well placed to maximise its future potential".

The transaction is conditional on the approval of the merger by the shareholders and creditors of each of GSK India and HUL.

"Unilever is well positioned to further develop the market given its reach and capabilities", it added. The transaction is an all-equity merger with 4.39 shares of HUL being allotted for every share in GSK Consumer. It values GSKCH at Rs 7,540 per share, which is around 15% premium to the firm's share price of Rs 6,531 as on March 31, 2018. Shares of GSK CH closed the day at ₹7,542.85, rising 3.75% or ₹272.90.

GSK said its net proceeds from the deal, after tax and hedging costs, were expected to be around 2.4 billion pounds ($3.1 billion).

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The following exchange rates have been used in the above calculations: £1 = INR89, £1 = EUR1.13, and £1 = BDT109.

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