The consumer healthcare division of GlaxoSmithKline was already the global #1 in its field but got bigger still at the end of 2019 following the takeover of the rival division within Pfizer. The combined business is majority controlled by GlaxoSmithKline, with Pfizer as minority partner. The deal mirrors a previous partnership with Novartis, whose consumer healthcare division was bought out by GSK in 2018. The group has vowed to spin out the greatly enlarged business as an independent company by 2022. Divisional performance received a significant lift in 2020 from higher levels of purchasing as a result of the Covid pandemic. Turnover jumped by 20% to over £10.0bn, while operating profits rose 18% to £2.2bn. GSK Consumer Healthcare is a major force in several key healthcare segments. Its biggest business is oral care, ranking #3 globally and #2 in several key markets with brands including Sensodyne, Aquafresh, Parodontax, Poligrip, Biotene and Corsodyl. Oral care generated revenues of almost £2.8bn in 2020, including well over £1bn from Sensodyne alone. Respiratory brands also feature large in the group portfolio, including cold & flu treatments Theraflu and Beecham's, decongestants Contac, Robitussin and Otrivin and the Flonase allergy range. Combined sales were £1.2bn. Pain relief brands include Advil, Panadol, Voltaren/Voltarol, Excedrin and China's Fenbid, with combined sales up 25% in 2020 to £2.2bn. However the biggest growth in 2020 came from minerals, vitamins and supplement, including Centrum, Caltrate and Emergen-C. Sales more than doubled during the year to £1.5bn. The portfolio also houses a large collection of other brands. Medicated skincare products include Lamisil, Abreva, Zovirax and Savlon. In the smoking cessation segment, GSK markets Nicorette and Nicotroll, while digestive heath brand Tums is an important regional brand in the US. GlaxoSmithKline was also until recently the UK's #3 manufacturer of soft drinks, with brands including Lucozade and Ribena. Those brands were sold in 2013 to Suntory of Japan. At the end of 2018 a deal was agreed to sell malt-based hot drink Horlicks, which has a huge following in India, to Unilever for €4.6bn. Brian McNamara, previously head of Novartis OTC, became CEO of GSK Consumer Healthcare following the promotion of Emma Walmsley to group CEO.
Capsule checked 26th February 2021
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Historical profile information for GlaxoSmithKline
Adbrands Daily Update 26th Jun 2019: GlaxoSmithKline began restructuring its consumer healthcare marketing team ahead of the impending merger with Pfizer's equivalent division. According to trade media outlet The Drum, Carlton Lawson, head of global categories and chief marketing officer, is leaving the group to be succeeded by EMEA head Tamara Rogers. She is supported by four newly appointed global sector marketing heads: Jayant Singh (oral care), Theresa Agnew (pain relief), Jonathan Girling (cold & flu) and Rick Sheppard (general wellness). A separate department will take charge of content, PR, media and operations under the heading of marketing edge. Meredith Herman was named as head of marketing edge.
Adbrands Daily Update 19th Dec 2018: It's never too late in the year for a game-changing deal. GlaxoSmithKline will become the biggest player by far in global OTC medicines after agreeing to take control of Pfizer's equivalent business in an arrangement that mirrors GSK's previous partnership with Novartis, which it now wholly owns. A new joint venture is to be created, with ownership split 68/32% between GSK and Pfizer, combine both companies' OTC products. Pfizer had been investigating options for divesting its own consumer health division for some time. An auction earlier this year failed to solicit suitable offers. GSK CEO Emma Walmsley said she intends to spin off the resulting business before 2022 as an entirely separate entity, leaving GlaxoSmithKline itself as a dedicated prescription pharmaceutical and vaccines developer. Following completion, the new business will have sales of around $12.7bn.
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Dec 2018: Unilever secured the prize in a bidding war for malted drink Horlicks, Boost and other nutritional beverages owned by GlaxoSmithKline. It saw off a rival bid from Nestle. Though Horlicks has only a marginal presence nowadays in Europe, it remains a mammoth brand in India and neighbouring countries with annual sales of around €550m. Under the deal with GSK, Hindustan Unilever will acquire the former's publicly listed local subsidiary GSK Consumer Healthcare India as well as various other operations in India for a combined total consideration of €4.6bn, mostly to be paid in HUL shares.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Oct 2018: Not the best of weeks for WPP. Four big reviews ended in partial or total losses for the group. First up was GlaxoSmithKline's global media. GroupM handled most of the account worldwide, split between Mediacom, Mindshare and Essence. Omnicom's PHD had the US, Australia and New Zealand. However, the pharma group has chosen Publicis to carry forward the account, in a newly created dedicated unit, PlatformGSK.
Adbrands Weekly Update 10th May 2018: Another week, another big media review. GlaxoSmithKline is the latest global giant to reconsider media buying and planning arrangements. It piles yet more pressure onto WPP, whose Mediacom has most of the global business except the US, where Omnicom's PHD is the incumbent. Worldwide billings are around $1.7bn. The pitch is wide open, with all six major marketing groups invited to compete for the business.
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