GSK's boost in Nigeria and India

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The Independent Online

Britain's biggest drugs maker, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), yesterday raised its stake in its Nigerian and Indian consumer healthcare units as part of boss Sir Andrew Witty's attempt to shift it away from "white pills in Western markets".

GSK is to almost double its stake in its Nigerian division, whose products include Sensodyne toothpaste, Panadol painkiller, and drinks Horlicks and Lucozade, to 80 per cent in a 15.4bn naira (£60.5m) deal.

That leaves Glaxo with the 20 per cent minimum public shareholding required for a company to maintain a listing on the country's stock exchange.

A similar deal in India sees its stake in GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare rise to 75 per cent from 43.2 per cent.

Indian regulators require a minimum public shareholding of 25 per cent for a company to maintain a public listing.

Austerity-struck governments around the world mean it is getting harder for pharmaceuticals firms to profit from drugs development, and most are diversifying.

In India, for example, Horlicks alone accounted for three quarters of GSK's Indian consumer division's £270m revenues last year.