GSK puts old antibiotics and UK Horlicks biz on the block


GlaxoSmithKline said it was considering the sale of its cephalosporins antibiotics business and intended to divest its small Horlicks business in Britain, while retaining the much bigger malted drink operation in India. 

The antibiotics business under strategic review covers the brands Zinnat/Ceftin, Zinacef and Fortum and has worldwide annual sales estimated at around £200 million ($260 million), but it faces growing competition from cheap generics. 

In addition, GSK announced just over 300 job losses on Wednesday and confirmed that the UK-focused MaxiNutrition sports nutrition brand would be sold. The combined annual UK sales of Horlicks and MaxiNutrition, which industry sources had previously said were on the block, are around £30 million pounds. GSK is also exploring options to divest some other smaller non-core nutrition brands.

The moves show new Chief Executive Officer Emma Walmsley putting her mark on Britain's biggest drugmaker as she tries to simplify operations, improve operating efficiencies and focus on priority areas. She will outline her wider vision for GSK alongside half-year results next week.