Suntory buys Lucozade and Ribena for £1.35bn

GlaxoSmithKline’s popular drinks brands Lucozade and Ribena have been sold to Suntory, a Japanese firm, for £1.35bn.

The deal was agreed following talks between Suntory and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) last week.

David Redfern, the GSK’s CEO said today that is the “right time to sell” Lucozade and Ribena which achieved combined sales of £500m last year.

GSK’s overall profits dipped in 2012 and a strategic review has highlighted the need for greater focus on its core consumer healthcare brands according to the chief executive.

Mr Redfernssaid that Lucozade and Ribena would be “in good hands” with Suntory which also owns Orangina Schweppes, a business it acquired four years ago for £2.2bn.

Ribena first went on sale in the 1930s, while Lucozade dates back to 1927. Both are made in the UK in Coleford, Gloucestershire.

GSK has assured that the “vast majority” of employees working at Locozade and Ribena manufacturing facility in Coleford, Gloucestershire will be offered transfers to Suntory, including those working in production and research and development.

Lucozade has been manufactured at this site since 1927 and Ribena the 1930s.

Suntory has bought the two drinks brands to support its global expansion plans. Sales in its home nation of Japan have been slow in recent years.

The sale of Ribena and Lucozade is expected to be complete by the end of the year.