Global fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company Unilever has completed the acquisition of Horlicks brands rights from GSK in India and other primary Asian markets.

This is part of Unilever’s agreement signed in 2018 to acquire the Health Food Drinks portfolio (GSK HFD) of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in India, Bangladesh and 20 other markets in Asia.

In India’s Health Food Drinks segment, GSK HFD leads with brands such as Horlicks and Boost. Horlicks is a sweet malted milk hot drink powder.

The 2018 agreement included three parts, all-equity merger of Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) with GSK Consumer Healthcare India (GSK CH India), purchase of 82% stake in GSK Bangladesh and some commercial operations and assets outside India.

HUL chairman and managing director Sanjiv Mehta said: “Brands such as Horlicks and Boost are iconic, and we are excited to have them in the Hindustan Unilever fold.

“The merger gives us a unique opportunity to live our purpose and serve India where nutrition-related challenges form the largest causes of disease, malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency, and aligns well with the government’s ambitious Swasth Bharat and Poshan Abhiyan programmes.

“I am delighted to welcome the 3,500-strong Nutrition Team to the HUL family. Both organisations have common values coming from a lineage of respected parent companies and a shared heritage of building iconic trusted brands.”

The acquisition is reported to be in line with HUL’s strategy to build a sustainable and profitable Foods and Refreshment (F&R) business in India.

Mehta added: “In the current context, the focus of the company has been to ensure that all our people remain safe and we do our best to keep supply lines running for essential products. In these difficult times, we are joining hands with the government in the fight against Covid-19.’’