Connect with us

Governance

Unilever to buy GSK’s Indian Horlicks business for $3.8bn

Published

on

The logo for Unilever appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: AP Photo/Richard Drew.

 

INTERNATIONAL – Unilever is to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s Horlicks nutrition business for $3.8 billion (R51bn), boosting the Anglo-Dutch group’s position in India with the addition of the malted drink.

The deal, announced on Monday, increases the consumer goods giant’s footprint in one the world’s fastest-growing economies and marks a notable addition to the portfolio by outgoing Chief Executive Paul Polman, who steps down in January.

For GSK boss Emma Walmsley, it is a chance to further streamline operations and generate cash for increased investment in pharmaceuticals.

The sale follows a competitive auction in which Unilever saw off rival Nestle, as well as earlier interest from Coca-Cola.

The transaction covers GSK’s health food and drinks portfolio in India, Bangladesh and 20 other predominantly Asian markets. The business has annual sales of around 550 million euros, primarily through the malt-based Horlicks and Boost brands.

Horlicks comfortably dominates the health-drinks market in India and Unilever is expected to try and give it a fresh lease of life, following a slowdown in sales growth in recent years.

HUL finance head Srinivas Phatak told reporters he expected the business to grow at a double-digit percentage rate in the medium term, boosting both earnings and profit margins.

GSK’s decision to sell the business follows its $13 billion acquisition of Novartis’s stake in the two groups’ consumer health joint venture earlier this year. GSK said at the time that selling Horlicks could support the funding of the Novartis buyout.

The main asset being sold is GSK’s 72.5 percent stake in Indian-listed GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.

Unilever said its 3.3 billion euros ($3.75 billion) consideration would be paid in cash and shares in its subsidiary in India, Hindustan Unilever Limited.

Shares in both Indian companies rose more than 4 percent on Monday.

GSK said its net proceeds from the deal, after tax and hedging costs, were expected to be around 2.4 billion pounds ($3.1 billion).

Following the closure of the deal, which is expected in around 12 months, GSK will own approximately 5.7 percent of HUL and the British drugmaker intends to sell this down in tranches.

The price being paid for the GSK business is broadly in line with expectations. People familiar with the process had told Reuters it was likely to be sold for less than $4 billion.

Horlicks traces its history back to 1873, when two British-born men, James and William Horlick, founded a company in Chicago to manufacture it.

It was taken to India by soldiers who had fought with the British Army in the First World War.GSK was advised by Morgan Stanley and Greenhill, while BofA Merrill Lynch worked with Unilever.

Sold as a bedtime drink in Britain, it was developed into a much bigger brand by GSK in India, although more recently its growth as slowed as urban Indian consumers turn to healthier, less-sugary alternatives.

Reuters

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Governance

Alibaba takes control of film group in $160M share purchase

Published

on

By

A logo of Alibaba Group is pictured at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, October 14, 2015. REUTERS

BEIJING – 10 December 2018: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) said on Monday it will increase its stake in Hong Kong-listed Alibaba Pictures (1060.HK) to 51 percent, taking control of the film unit’s board.

Alibaba Pictures will issue one billion new shares to Alibaba at HK$1.25, valuing the exchange at roughly HK$1.25 billion ($159.9 million), the e-commerce firm said.

Currently, Alibaba owns a 49 percent stake in the firm.

“The proposed share purchase is a vote of confidence in Alibaba Pictures, and we will continue to invest resources,” Alibaba chief Daniel Zhang said.

Alibaba Pictures, which listed in 2016, operates under Alibaba’s Digital Media and Entertainment business.

– Reuters

 

Continue Reading

Governance

Huawei CFO bail hearing to resume in Canada as Beijing piles pressure

Published

on

By

TORONTO – 10 December 2018: The CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is set to be back in a Canadian courtroom on Monday, fighting for her freedom with the help of pressure from Beijing, while prosecutors argue she cannot be trusted.

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian authorities Dec. 1 at the request of the United States.

Meng, 46, faces U.S. accusations that she misled multinational banks about Huawei’s control of a company operating in Iran. This deception put the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions and incurring severe penalties, court documents said. U.S. officials allege that Huawei was trying to use the banks to move money out of Iran.

Canadian prosecutors argued against giving her bail while she awaits extradition to the United States.

Meng argued that she should be released on bail while awaiting an extradition hearing due to severe hypertension and fears for her health while incarcerated in Canada, court documents released on Sunday showed. In a sworn affidavit, Meng said she is innocent of the allegations and will contest them at trial in the United States if she is surrendered there.

She was detained while transferring flights in Canada and appeared in a British Columbia court on Friday for her bail hearing. After nearly six hours of arguments and counter arguments, the hearing was adjourned until Monday.

China has strongly criticized her detention and demanded her immediate release. Her arrest has roiled global markets as investors worry that it could torpedo attempts to thaw trade tensions between the United States and China.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, has been held in custody since her arrest. Her lawyer argues that this situation is untenable due to her health. Meng said in the sworn affidavit she was taken to a hospital for treatment for hypertension after being detained.

Meng also has sleep apnea and was treated for a carcinoma, lawyer David Martin told court on Friday.

At issue is whether Meng should be set free while her extradition case proceeds. The U.S. has 60 days to file a formal request; if its evidence convinces a judge the case has merit, Canada’s justice minister will decide whether to extradite Meng.

On Monday a judge could decide to set Meng free on any number of conditions, including high-tech surveillance, or to keep her in jail, according to some legal experts.

According to local media reports, Meng is being kept in Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, a Vancouver-area jail. Reuters could not independently verify these reports.

Meng’s wealth and power are undeniable as the financial chief of one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world, which builds everything from networks to handsets and is seen as one of China’s best chances to change the global technology landscape.

Huawei is now China’s largest technology company by employees, with more than 180,000 staff and revenue of $93 billion in 2017.

– Reuters

Continue Reading

Governance

Europe’s Future Lies in the South and not the North, says Italian Finance Minister at Africa Conference

Published

on

By

“Africa is a continent of great change and opportunities. However, Europe finds it difficult to understand that its future lies in the South and not in the North,” said Giovanni Tria, Italian Minister of Finance and Economy. He was a speaking in Rome at a conference on Africa, challenges and opportunities: Italy and the African Development Bank.

Africa is currently  home to five of the world’s fastest growing economies, and only 4 African countries out of 54 will record negative growth in 2018, compared to 8 in previous years.

According to Tria, The current narrative about Africa is all wrong. He says, ‘Africa today has 5 distinctive advantages – a huge land mass of 30 million square kilometers, huge resources, a fast-growing population, fewer conflicts and major developments in education, and an economy that has consistently expanded over the last 15 years, even though it still only accounts for 3% of global GDP.

There is clear evidence of sustained demand growth across the continent. Consumer spending will reach $2.5 trillion by 2030, while business-to-business investments will reach over $3.5 trillion in the same period. “With a growing middle class and rapid urbanisation, consumer demand from a burgeoning middle class will turn the continent into a prime collective investment opportunity that cannot be ignored,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

“This is proof positive of an Africa in the process of full transformation. Africa is the new international investment frontier,” he added. With $11.6 billion, Italy was the largest European investor on the continent in 2017, and the third largest after China and the United Arab Emirates.

Minister Tria commended the African Development Bank for its unique role in fostering a favourable investment environment and addressing Africa’s development challenges.

According to Adesina,  “The migration crisis in Europe is one of the biggest current social and political challenges that Italy and Europe have to deal with. I do not believe that the future of Africa’s youth lies in Europe. Neither does it lie at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. The future of Africa’s youth is in Africa helping to grow its economy and employment opportunities”.

The African Development Bank has launched a major initiative, the Jobs for Youth in Africa programme, aimed at creating 25 million jobs over a ten-year period. The Bank has also launched the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) to encourage banks and finance institutions in Africa to lend to female entrepreneurs and businesses run by women. Adesina points out that it is now “critical to change the lenses with which we look at Africa, from development aid to profitable investment,”

The evidence for this comes from the tremendous success of the Bank’s new mould-breaking initiative, the Africa Investment Forum, an event dedicated to investment transactions which took place last month in Johannesburg, South Africa. investment interests were secured in deals worth $38.7 billion in three days of transaction-dominated meetings between investors, the private sector and African countries.

Source: African Development Bank

Continue Reading

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,401 other subscribers

Most Viewed