Lucozade and Ribena up for sale as Glaxo’s drugs business loses its fizz

DRUGS giant GlaxoSmithKline is considering selling iconic drink brands Lucozade and Ribena “to ensure their continued growth” after a drop in sales at its core drugs business.

The pharmaceuticals firm said it was placing the brands under review and would consider all strategic options.

Glaxo said: “These brands are iconic and the review will look at the best ways to ensure their continued growth.”

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The announcement came as Glaxo posted a 5 per cent drop in operating profits to £7.4 billion for 2012. Turnover was down 3 per cent at £26.4bn as austerity drives across Europe affected medicine prices and the development of drugs. This has prompted the company to 
announce a further restructuring of its European pharma-
ceuticals operations while it looks for cost savings of £1bn by 2016. It has not said how this will affect jobs.

Lucozade and Ribena, which were owned by Beecham prior to its merger with SmithKline, form part of Glaxo’s consumer healthcare division, which also includes Horlicks and Panadol. It posted a 5 per cent rise in full-year sales to £5.1bn.

In research and development (R&D), the company – which is led by chief executive Sir 
Andrew Philip Witty – said it had made significant progress, with six products now under regulatory review.

Helal Miah, an analyst at the Share Centre, said Glaxo’s results were in line with expectations. He said: “Investors will be pleased to see new drugs coming to the market and the company’s confidence of improving R&D returns to 14 per cent.”