GSK profits drop following consumer brand sell-off


GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has revealed that its profits dropped by more than 20% last year, following the offloading of consumer brands such as Horlicks.

The group reported a 22% drop in pre-tax profits, to £5.4 billion – a 10% decline with currency movements stripped out, although it delivered better-than-expected earnings on strong Covid-related sales.

Operating profits stood at £8.8 billion, while turnover rose by 5% to £34.1 billion, thanks to strong pandemic-related sales, higher drugs revenues and cost savings amid restructuring efforts.

The pharmaceuticals giant has promised a “step change in growth”, reiterating that it remains on track to sell its consumer healthcare arm by the middle of 2022, despite Marmite owner  Unilever removing itself from the bidding process.

Read more: Unilever “will not increase” £50bn bid for GSK healthcare business

Unilever made three unsuccessful takeover approaches for the consumer health business, which sells painkiller Panadol and toothpaste brand Sensodyne. The final offer of £50billion was the subject of significant pushback from many Unilever investors, who said it was too high.

GSK is now focusing on a pressing ahead with a demerger and listing of the division, which it describes as a “world-leading consumer healthcare business”, and believes will happen later this year. It is believed that other suitors are already circling the division.

Chief executive Emma Walmsley said that 2022 would be a “landmark year” for the business.

“We have ended the year strongly with another quarter of excellent performance driven by first-class commercial execution, and we enter 2022 with good momentum,” she stated.

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