GSK to sell most European OTC drugs to Omega Pharma

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the UK's largest pharmaceutical firm and the world's fourth-largest by revenue, today said it would sell most of its over-the-counter (OTC) healthcare brands in Europe to Omega Pharma for £391 million ($612 million).

The sale comes three months after the London-based company sold some of its North American non-core OTC drugs to Prestige Brands Holdings, for £426 million ($661 million).

The OTC drugs to be acquired by Belgium-based Omega, include Lactacyd, Abtei, Solpadeine, Zantac, Nytol and Beconase, which had combined sales of £185 million in 2011.

The net cash proceeds from the sale, expected to be around £310 million, will be returned to shareholders during 2012.

In February 2011, GSK announced that it will divest non-core consumer healthcare OTC products in the US and Europe with aggregate sales of approximately £500 million.

The company said that the proposed divestment is designed to realise value for shareholders and simplify its Consumer Healthcare business by enabling it to focus on priority brands and markets.