Glaxo says sales on rise again in China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 2:37am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 2:37am

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said sales on the mainland, where the company faces a bribery probe, have improved since the third quarter, when revenue plunged 61 per cent year on year.

"The trend is definitely looking a bit more positive" since September 30, chief financial officer Simon Dingemans said. "We can see the future opportunities to rebuild the business as and when we get to the other side of the inquiry. We'll be working hard in 2014 to deliver that."

Allegations by the central government that GSK bribed hospitals, doctors and officials drove sales to some competitors with similar products, chief executive Andrew Witty said in October. The London-based company had conducted a thorough review of its operations in other emerging markets and implemented additional anti-bribery controls and measures in higher-risk countries, Dingemans said.

"So far, we see this situation confined to China," he said.

GSK received regulatory approval for five new drugs last year, which helped its share price rise 21 per cent. The company was now focused on market introductions of those products as well as divesting older products, Dingemans said. Such disposals and reshaping of businesses, rather than large-scale acquisitions were likely to be an industry trend this year, he said.

"Focusing on what you're good at is really what's differentiating you, and that's what we've been trying to do with our portfolio," Dingemans said.

GSK sold its Lucozade and Ribena drinks brands to Suntory for £1.35 billion (HK$17.15 billion) last year as well as its injectable thrombosis brands to Aspen Pharmacare for £700 million.

In April, the company formed a global established products portfolio of more than 50 older products.