GSK Nigeria shareholders vote to sell beverage business to Suntory
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc (“GSK Consumer Nigeria”) said on Monday that shareholders of the company have approved the sale of its beverage unit to Suntory Beverage & Food Nigeria Limited.
Suntory Beverage & Food Limited of Japan, the parent company of Suntory Beverage & Food Nigeria Ltd purchased the beverage business (Lucozade and Ribena brands) of GSK Global, a UK company for $2.1bn in 2013. The sale did not include GSK Nigeria beverage unit in which was left to GSK Consumer Nigeria to continue to market and distribute the brands for 10 years, while Suntory supplies the beverage bases, after which the business will revert to Suntory Food & Beverage Ltd.
GSK Consumer Nigeria received a non-binding offer from Suntory Nigeria Limited in January for its beverage business, which includes Lucozade and Ribena. The company’s directors brought the offer to its shareholders for approval.
At the company’s Annual General Meeting on Monday, the shareholders of GSK Consumer Nigeria agreed to the sale for $79.2m (approx N15.7bn) so as to focus more on their core business of Oral healthcare, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals.
Edmund Onuzo, GSK Nigeria chairman said a special dividend of N716m (60 kobo per share) would be paid to the shareholders upon completion of the transaction.
Onuzo explained that the transaction would enable the company focus more on growing what is left of the GSK Consumer business.
“Our parent company decided not to get involved in drink business but to focus on healthcare and we see it that it is easy for us to align on their strategy.
“Suntory is a Japanese company and the third largest drink company in the world.
“We believe they have come to stay in Nigeria and the desire to quickly bring in their own brand underscores that fact.”
He said that proceeds from the sale would be used in the construction of a multi-purpose facility to support the business and help maintain low cost quality supply base as well as pay down debts.