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Nigeria, India out of purview

Mumbai, April 22: GlaxosmithKline Plc has deliberately left India and Nigeria out of the ambit of the new global joint venture that GSK and Novartis are forming for their consumer healthcare business.

It chose to do so because they were the only two countries that had “independently-run businesses” handling GSK’s consumer healthcare products, a spokesperson for GSK told The Telegraph over the phone from London. She added that the UK-based parent did not want to disturb the existing arrangement.

However, the spokesperson did not rule out the possibility of introducing some products from the new global entity’s portfolio in India through GSK Consumer Healthcare, the listed entity on the BSE and the NSE. But this could be done only after the shareholders’ of the new entity pass an enabling resolution.

Earlier, in the day, the bourses in India were informed that the new worldwide entity would “exclude GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited India, where GSK plc will continue to hold directly its interests in the listed entity.”

GSK Plc will have a majority control over the new consumer healthcare joint venture.

Some of the over-the-counter products sold by the company here in India include Crocin, Eno, pain relief balm Iodex and oral care product Sensodyne. The portfolio also includes nutritional brands such as Horlicks, Boost, Maltova and Viva.

Horlicks is the flagship and has been sold in India for over a 100 years. Smithkline Beecham Consumer Healthcare (the earlier name of GSK Consumer Healthcare) set up a manufacturing plant at Nabha in Punjab in 1960 to make Horlicks for the first time in India.

In the area of pharmaceuticals, Glaxo’s latest deal with Novartis will have a deep impact on India. Industry sources said it would boost GSK’s presence in the vaccines front. Multinational companies have been targeting the Indian vaccine market, attracted by its huge potential.

This is an area where there have been some big deals, including the acquisition of Shantha Biotechnics by Sanofi-Aventis in 2009.

For the year ended December 31, 2013, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd, the Indian subsidiary, notched up sales of around Rs 362 crore from vaccines, marking a growth of 12 per cent over the preceding year.

While GSK is a major player in the private market for vaccines in the country, it has also been introducing products, which is an indication of its optimism in India.

It had introduced vaccine for pneumococcal conjugate disease, Synflorix, which became the biggest brand in its vaccine portfolio. Analysts do not rule out the possibility of vaccines from the Novartis portfolio now being introduced in India. This could include the Bexsero, which is a vaccine for the prevention of meningitis B.

On the impact of the deal on its Indian operations, a spokesperson for Novartis said, “All of these deals still need regulatory approvals so it is early to say what it means at a country level.” Novartis has announced a portfolio transformation, which enables the company to focus on its leading businesses, building innovation power and global scale in pharmaceuticals, the spokesperson added.

 
 
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