HUL board has approved the scheme of amalgamation with GSK Consumer India, under which the two companies will merge. HUL will get to acquire GSK Consumer’s Horlicks and other brands for as much as EUR 3.3 billion.
Hindustan Unilever has finally and officially emerged as the winner to bag GSK Consumer’s India business, including the popular Horlicks, Boost and other brands, after months of negotiations and a race against other global FMCG majors. HUL board has approved the scheme of amalgamation with GSK Consumer India, under which the two companies will merge. HUL will get to acquire GSK Consumer’s Horlicks and other brands for as much as EUR 3.3 billion.
GSK Consumer Healthcare and HUL have agreed to a share exchange ratio of 4.39 shares of HUL for every one share of GSK Consumer India, the two companies said in separate filings with the stock exchanges. The deal values GSK Consumer India at Rs 31,700 crore and is expected to be complete in 12 months, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.
The merger includes GSK entire operations of nutrition business and contracts to distribute its over-the-counter (OTC) and oral care brands such as Sensodyne, Eno and Crocin. Following the issue of new HUL shares, Unilever’s holding in HUL will be diluted from 67.2% to 61.9%.
“With this proposed strategic merger with GSKCH India, we will be expanding our portfolio with great brands into a new category catering to the nutritional needs of our consumers,” HUL chairman Sanjiv Mehta said. “The turnover of our food and refreshment business will exceed Rs 10000 crore and we will become one of the largest F&R businesses in the country,” he added.
At 3 PM on Monday, shares of HUL were trading at Rs 1784.95, up 1.79% from the previous close, after touching an intra-day high of Rs 1799.25 and an intra-day low of Rs 1746.50 on BSE. On the other hand, shares of GSK Consumer were trading at Rs 7485.05, up 2.96% from the previous close. Shares of the company touched an intra-day high of Rs 7687.20 and an intra-day low of Rs 7090.00 on BSE.
The deal is one of Unilever’s biggest acquisitions under current CEO Paul Polman, who is set to step down by the end of this month and will hand over to personal-care head Alan Jope. The acquisition is also the first since a plan to shift the company’s headquarter in the Netherlands fell through under investor pressure in October this year.
Earlier this year, chief executive Emma Walmsley, chief executive officer of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, announced the plans of a strategic review of Horlicks and its other consumer healthcare nutrition products. Walmsley had also added that the company is planning for a partial or complete sale of its holding in GSK Consumer Healthcare by the end of this year.
At the end of March 2018, GSK Consumer India business had a turnover of nearly Rs 4200 crore, primarily through its Horlicks and Boost brands. Notably, roughly 85-90% of total Horlicks sales of the company come from the India market. As of now, Horlics is the market leader in malt-based beverages segment with about 43% market share, followed by Mondelez International’s Bournvita (13% share).