Battle for Horlicks in India is heating up as Coca-Cola, Nestle and Kraft Heinz are considering making an offer to acquire malted drink brand from UK pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline.
Back in March, GlaxoSmithKline announced its decision to dispose of the business in India, where the sales of the milk drink is significant. In India, Horlicks is sold through GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, which is listed on the National Stock Exchange and the Bombay Stock Exchange. In India, Horlicks is given to children as a breakfast drink, and this makes the country an important market for Horlicks.
“The majority of Horlicks and other nutrition products sales are generated in India, with the Horlicks range widely recognized as a portfolio of premium nutrition products,” GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement. The combined sales of Horlicks and other nutrition products were approximately £550 million in 2017, the company noted.
Besides India, GlaxoSmithKline sells Horlicks in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Back in March, GlaxoSmithKline said it was exploring a partial or full sale of its 72.5 per cent stake in its Indian unit to fund its $13 billion buyout of Novartis’s stake in a global consumer healthcare joint venture.
“The company is initiating a strategic review of Horlicks and its other consumer healthcare nutrition products to support funding of the transaction. The strategic review also includes assessment of the company’s stake in Indian entity,” GSK chief executive Emma Walmsley said back in March.
Horlicks was founded by brothers William and James Horlick, originally from Ruardean, Gloucestershire. The founded the company, J & W Horlicks in Chicago to manufacture a patented malted milk drink as an artificial infant food.
Horlicks came to India with the British Army after the end of World War I.