Pharma giant to ‘dispose’ of consumer arm in £45bn float

Pfizer boss details investment into vaccine technologies

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Shareholders of the pharmaceuticals giant will vote on the proposed spin-off of the business, which has been christened Haleon, on July 6. It is currently 68:32 owned by GSK and its US rival Pfizer. If the flotation is approved, the British group’s stake will drop to 6 percent.

While Pfizer will initially retain its stake, it says it plans to offload it entirely.

Groups linked to GSK’s pension schemes will control around 7 percent of Haleon, while US investment group Blackrock will be the largest outside shareholder, with a 3.6 percent stake.

According to GSK, the disposal of Haleon will be the biggest shake-up of the business in the last 20 years.

It says the move will create two focussed companies, “each with clear targets for growth and the ability to positively impact the health and lives” of billions of people.

GSK will focus purely on biopharmaceuticals, prioritising the development of vaccines and speciality medicines. Over five years it expects to achieve an annual sales growth in excess of 5 percent.

Haleon will be targeting medium-term annual organic revenue growth of 4 to 6 percent. In January, Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever failed with a £50billion bid for Haleon.

Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets, said: “It remains to be seen whether GSK will rue the decision to turn down the £50billion bid by Unilever this year, for what will henceforth be known as Haleon.”

Former Tesco boss Sir Dave Lewis will be chairman of Haleon, while GSK consumer head Brian McNamara will be its chief executive.

According to the Haleon prospectus, its revenues for the 12 months to the end of March rose 13.9 percent to £2.6billion, while its pre-tax profits shot up for £350million to £465million.

Elsewhere, Tullow Oil is merging with Capricorn Energy, while engineering group John Wood is to sell its built environment consulting business to US group WSP for £1.5billion.

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