Unilever To Acquire Horlicks, Other Consumer Healthcare Nutrition Products


New Delhi: Unilever announced it has signed an agreement to acquire the Health Food Drinks portfolio (GSK HFD) of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in India, Bangladesh and 20 other predominantly Asian markets.

All-Equity Merger of Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) with the publicly listed GSK Consumer Healthcare India (GSK CH India), acquisition of 82% stake in GSK Bangladesh Limited (GSK Bangladesh), and acquisition of certain other commercial operations and assets outside India.

Unilever’s share of the total consideration is €3.3bn payable using a combination of cash, and shares in its listed subsidiary in India, Hindustan Unilever Limited.

In 2018, the GSK HFD portfolio delivered total turnover of c.€550m, primarily through the Horlicks and Boost brands. Almost 90% of the turnover is in India.

The transaction is aligned with Unilever’s stated strategy of increasing its presence in health-food categories and in high-growth emerging markets.

GSK HFD is the undisputed leader in the Health Food Drinks category in India, with iconic brands such as Horlicks and Boost, and a product portfolio supported by strong nutritional claims. This portfolio has a long history in India with Horlicks having originally been introduced in the 1930s.

Horlicks products have been an everyday staple in South Asian households across generations. Over the last 15 years, the portfolio (and category) has grown at a double-digit rate. Despite this, the category still remains under-penetrated in India. Unilever is well positioned to further develop the market given the extent of its reach and capabilities.

Nitin Paranjpe, President, Food & Refreshment, Unilever, said: “We are delighted to be acquiring the GSK Health Food Drinks portfolio. The iconic Horlicks brand has a deep heritage, credibility and resonance around the world. The acquisition is transformative for our Foods and Refreshment business allowing us to enter the Health Foods Drinks category, further strengthening our position in health and wellness. It is rare to be able to acquire brands with such leading market positions and fantastic consumer equity in one of the world’s most exciting and fast-growing markets. Improving the health and wellbeing of 1 billion people by 2020 is a key pillar in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. Horlicks and Boost will add to our stable of purpose driven brands that help consumers to get more out of their lives.”

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