GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) shares rose after the drug titan said it would spin off its consumer division and likely slash its dividend 31%.
The company unveiled the news at an investor update on Wednesday.
“The separation of Consumer Healthcare is expected in mid-2022,” the company said.
“The new Consumer Healthcare company will have a portfolio which generated annual sales of more than $14 billion in 2020 and is well-positioned for further growth.”
In April, media reports said activist investment firm Elliott Management had acquired a large stake in Glaxo, the size of which wasn't disclosed.
As for the dividend, GSK projects it will total $1.12 this year and then slide to 77 cents next year.
"New GSK will adopt a progressive dividend policy targeting a dividend payout ratio equivalent to 40% to 60%, starting at 45 pence per share in 2023, the company’s first full year of operation.”
Investors reacted positively to the news, with Glaxo recently trading at $40.83, up 4.5%. The stock has gained 8% over the past six months.
Glaxo also said it expected to widen its adjusted operating-profit margin from the mid-20s percent in 2021 to more than 30% by 2026.
And the new GSK "will prioritize R&D and commercial investment in vaccines and specialty medicines, which are expected to grow to around three-quarters of company sales by 2026.”
Earlier this month, Glaxo agreed to pay up to $2.1 billion for ITeos Therapeutics (ITOS) to develop cancer drugs.
The companies unveiled a deal to co-develop and co-commercialize EOS-448, a monoclonal antibody in Phase 1 development as a potential treatment for patients with cancer.
New GSK aims to sell the its remaining stake, described as a short-term investment, "in a timely manner," the group said. Based on brokerage Jefferies' valuation of 45 billion pounds for the whole consumer unit, that would be worth about 6 billion.
Pfizer, owner of the remaining 32%, has also said it would seek an exit.
"We will continue to monitor and evaluate all alternatives," it said on Wednesday.