GLAXOSMITHKLINE has decided to sell much-loved soft-drink brands Lucozade and Ribena in a disposal that analysts believe could bring in more than £1bn (€1.17bn). The sale was announced yesterday alongside weak results for the first three months of this year, which fell by 3pc to £6.47bn.
Lucozade and Ribena no longer fit well in the drug manufacturer's portfolio, since the company is focusing its consumer health operations increasingly on emerging markets, where both brands are relatively weak. The two generate revenues of about £600m a year. Lucozade was launched in 1927 and Ribena was introduced 10 years later but both remain popular.
The company launched a strategic review of both earlier this year, ruling nothing in or out for their future. Japanese drinks company Suntory Holdings has been tipped as a possible buyer after purchasing soft-drinks maker Orangina Schweppes.
Private-equity companies are also hungry for deals and the strong cashflows generated by Lucozade and Ribena could attract the likes of US private-equity firms Blackstone and Bain Capital.