Unilever takes 81.98pc stake in GlaxoSmithKline Bangladesh

Unilever has taken over 81.98 percent shares of GlaxoSmithKline Bangladesh Limited or GSKBD from Setfirst.

The acquisition was announced on Dec 3, 2018 and was subject to obtaining necessary approvals which have now been secured, the conglomerate said in statement.

Unilever now has ownership of GSK’s iconic Health Food & Drinks or HFD portfolio brands including Horlicks, Boost, and Glaxose-D.

Unilever Overseas Holdings BV, a concern of Unilever, has bought a total of 9,875,144 shares or 81.98 percent stakes in GSKBD on the block market at Dhaka Stock Exchange on Sunday. The remaining 18 percent of the stake is owned by the general and institutional investors.

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

It is the largest transaction in the history of the capital market in Bangladesh.

Unilever said the acquisition will bolster its focus to build a profitable and sustainable nutrition business in Bangladesh and support the government's national agenda to combat malnutrition in all its forms.

“Today marks the day we have been waiting for a long time. We have successfully completed the acquisition of GSK Consumer Healthcare business in Bangladesh even amidst a global crisis. I like to thank GSKBD Board and all regulatory bodies who has supported us in completing one of the biggest transactions in the history of Bangladesh,” said Kedar Lele, CEO and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh.

"Improving the health and wellbeing of 1 billion people by 2020 is a key pillar in Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan. Horlicks and Boost will add to UBL’s stable of purpose driven brands that help consumers to get more out of their lives."

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited is the undisputed leader in the HFD category, with iconic brands such as Horlicks and Boost, and a product portfolio supported by strong nutritional claims.

The nutrition and health drinks category remain under-penetrated in Bangladesh and Unilever Bangladesh is well-equipped to further develop the market given the extent of its reach and capabilities, according to the multinational consumer goods company.

"Unilever is known across the world for its responsible business practices deeply engaged in improving the Nutrition Quotient of the country. We will uphold the high-science Nutrition values that you have created in GSK and further amplify it with the high technology orientation of Unilever," said Lele.

"For me, it is even more meaningful as I welcome 147 employees of GSK into larger Unilever family. Both organisations have common values coming from a lineage of respected parent companies and a shared heritage of building iconic trusted brands."