Annual profits

Pharmaceuticals group GSK announces lower annual profits

LONDON – British pharmaceuticals group GlaxoSmithKline posted declining annual profits after the previous year was boosted by asset sales, but forecasts a recovery in 2022 amid fallout from its healthcare division.

After-tax profit fell to just under £4.4bn last year, GSK said in a statement.

That compares to £5.7bn in 2020, when its bottom line was boosted by divestments.

Revenue rose 5% to £34.1bn, helped by £1.4bn of pandemic-related sales – particularly from antibody treatment Sotrovimab.

“We ended the year strong, with another quarter of excellent performance…and we enter 2022 with good momentum,” Chief Executive Emma Walmsley said.

The London-listed group expects its profits to rise in 2022, when it will finally divest its consumer healthcare business.

GSK expects operating profit growth of between 12% and 14%.

The news comes after consumer goods giant Unilever failed in a £50bn takeover bid for the unit, which is owned by GSK and its US counterpart Pfizer.

Glaxo revealed last month that it had received three unsolicited offers for Unilever’s healthcare division but dismissed them all as too low.

Unilever, which will publish its annual results on Thursday, has already indicated that it will not increase its offer.

“2022 is … the year we spin off our world-leading consumer healthcare business,” Walmsley said.

“Later this month, we will present the future growth ambitions and the very attractive financial profile of this company, as well as the exceptional opportunity it offers shareholders.”