GlaxoSmithKline has put iconic drinks Lucozade and Ribena under review as it looks for the “best ways to ensure their continued growth”.
The drugs giant will consider all strategic options for the brands, which are primarily sold in western markets. It did not disclose the options under review, but it is likely they will include new ownership for the brands.
Glaxo’s announcement came as it posted a 5% drop in operating profits to £7.4bn (€8.6bn) for 2012, following a 3% drop in turnover to £26.4bn (€30.7bn) as austerity drives across Europe have impacted medicine prices and affected the development of new drugs across the continent.
This has prompted the company to announce a further restructuring of its European pharmaceuticals operations while it looks for cost savings of £1bn (€1.16bn) by 2016. It has not said how this will impact on jobs.
Lucozade and Ribena, which were owned by Beecham prior to its merger with SmithKline, date back to 1927 and the 1930s respectively. They form part of Glaxo’s consumer healthcare division, which also includes the brands Horlicks and Panadol and posted a 5% rise in annual sales to £5.1bn (€5.9bn) today.
Lucozade achieved strong growth in emerging markets, with low single digit percentage growth in Europe resulting in a 4% rise overall for the final quarter of 2012.
Glaxo said: “These brands are iconic and the review will look at the best ways to ensure their continued growth.”
In research and development, the company said it had made significant progress, with six new products now under regulatory review.
Chief executive Andrew Witty added: “Over the next three years, GlaxoSmithKline has the potential to launch around 15 new products globally.”