GSK considers offloading Lucozade and Ribena brands

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is launching a strategic review of its Lucozade and Ribena drinks brands, that could result in the pair being sold off, as part of a wider streamlining of its consumer brands.

Lucozade

The company, which makes the majority of its revenue from pharmaceutical products, says it is evaluating all strategic options for the “iconic brands” to ensure their continued growth.

It could choose to increase investment in the brands in certain areas of the world, find a partner or divest the products. A decision will be taken by the summer.

Chief executive Andrew Witty told news agencies there had been immediate interest from investment banks after announcing the review yesterday (6 February).

Lucozade Sport was the eighth biggest soft drinks brand in 2011, with sales of £117.9m, according to Nielsen Scantrack. Ribena did not feature in the top 10.

The Lucozade Sport brand launched a £1m marketing campaign last month, featuring rugby ambassadors from the England, Scotland and Wales national teams to continue to communicate its “hydrates and fuels you better than water message”.

The announcement of the strategic review coincided with the drug maker reporting a 35 per cent year on year decline in profit to £839m in the quarter to 31 December. Sales fell 3 per cent to £6.8bn.

GSK has also started a new programme to restructure its European operations, drug manufacturing and research in a bid to save about £1bn annually by 2016.

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