GlaxoSmithKline India stake @$940 mn
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* GlaxoSmithKline plans to raise stake in Indian arm by up to 31.8 pct
* Open offer at 3,900 rupees per share
* GSK Consumer Healthcare shares hit record high
GlaxoSmithKline Plc plans to buy up to an additional 31.8 percent stake in its Indian consumer products arm for about $940 million, as Britain's biggest drugmaker deepens its emerging markets and non-prescription consumer health footprint.
GlaxoSmithKline plans to raise its stake in GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd to 75 percent from 43.2 percent, paying 3,900 rupees ($70.16) per share through an open offer, it said in a statement.
The price represents a premium of 28 percent to the stock's Friday close.
The news sent shares of GSK Consumer Healthcare to a record high. The shares were locked at 3,659.20 rupees, up 20 percent, their maximum daily trading limit, while the Mumbai market was up 0.23 percent, by 0600 GMT.
This transaction represents a further step in GSK's strategy to invest in the world's fastest growing markets, David Redfern, chief strategy officer at GlaxoSmithKline, said in the statement.
The company, however, has no current plans to launch an open offer for its Indian drugs unit GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd, he added.
Tough market conditions in Europe have hampered GSK's hopes for a return to sales growth this year, although the company's growing business in emerging markets and its large consumer healthcare operation are both doing well.
In India, for example, sales of the consumer unit's flagship Horlicks brand stood at 270 million pounds ($432 million) in the year that ended December 2011, contributing to nearly three-quarters of its total revenues.
A lot of the current business of Horlicks is in the south and the east of India. So there is still a great opportunity to increase the penetration to the north and the west, Redfern said in an interview, adding that the company intended to introduce new variants of the brand in the country.