GlaxoSmithKline Nigeria to Boost Sales With New Consumer Items

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc, a unit of the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker, is targeting a 25 percent rise in revenue this year as it expands sales of its branded retail items in Africa’s most populous nation.

Glaxo Consumer Nigeria is looking to increase the volume sales of Lucozade, Ribena and Horlicks drinks, Panadol pain relief pills, and Sensodyne toothpaste, Chidi Okoro, managing director in charge of consumer products, said in a phone interview yesterday from Lagos, the commercial capital.

The move is part of London-based GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s push into consumer products in emerging markets at a time when the European debt crisis is putting pressure on prices. Marketing smaller sized packages aimed at lower income earners will also help sales of new products in the West African nation in the next two years, such as multivitamins and Panadol for children, Okoro said.

“We have a lot of offerings we sell in other markets that we haven’t brought into Nigeria,” he said. “Over the next few years we are strongly looking at driving growth, especially through volumne expansion with new products and pack offerings and sizes.”

The company is aiming for revenue of 24 billion naira ($152 million) this year in the nation of over 160 million, Okoro said.

Glaxo Consumer Nigeria said Oct. 28 revenue climbed to 15.84 billion naira in the nine months to Sept. 30 from 12.8 billion naira a year earlier, while net income was little changed at 1.672 billion naira from 1.668 billion naira from the same period a year before.

Economic Expansion

Sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest economy may grow 6.3 percent this year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said yesterday in an e-mailed report. That compares with last year’s growth of 7.7 percent, it said.

Bank of America also raised its inflation forecast for 2012 to an average of 15 percent from an earlier estimate of 13.3 percent with fuel prices higher by about 50 percent and power prices due to increase.

Nigeria’s annual inflation accelerated to 12.6 percent in January from 10.3 in December, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Feb. 20.

“Cost pressures are there,” Okoro said. “The transportation system is not very well developed, so you’re paying a premium all the time to move your goods.”

Attacks in the north by an Islamist group known as Boko Haram haven’t had much impact on Glaxo Consumer Nigeria’s earnings, Okoro said.

Shares Fall

The group claimed responsibility for the Jan. 20 coordinated blasts that killed at least 256 people in Kano, the biggest city in northern Nigeria, according to Civil Rights Congress. It also bombed a church near Abuja, the capital, on Christmas Day, killing 43 people, and a United Nations building on Aug. 26 that left 24 dead.

“Except Kano, Abuja and a few towns, the north is really not a big contributor to us,” said Okoro. “So the terrorism happening is not taking a big hit on us.”

Glaxo Consumer Nigeria’s shares have fallen 4.3 percent this year to 22 naira, compared with a 1.2 percent decline in the Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index.

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