Unilever adds GSK’s Health Food Drinks to pipeline with £3.1bn deal

Unilever adds GSK’s Health Food Drinks to pipeline with £3.1bn deal
Courtesy of Horlicks Products

Unilever has acquired the Health Food Drinks portfolio of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in a £3.1 billion deal that significantly boosts its presence in India.

The portfolio includes iconic brands including malted hot drink Horlicks and Boost. 90% of the turnover of the acquired business is in India.

Unilever said the deal is part of a wider strategy to boost its presence in health-food categories and grow its footprint in high-growth emerging markets.

The acquired 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 said it is “well positioned” to further develop the market given the extent of its reach and capabilities.

“The iconic Horlicks brand has a deep heritage, credibility and resonance around the world,” said Nitin Paranjpe, President, Food & Refreshment of Unilever.

“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.”

Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and CEO of Hindustan Unilever, added: “With this strategic merger of Hindustan Unilever and GSK Consumer Healthcare India Limited, we will be expanding our portfolio through great brands into a new category catering to the nutritional needs of our consumers.”