Pharmaceutical giant GSK invests in British sites

AP News
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Posted: Jul 27, 2016 7:50 AM

LONDON (AP) — Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline announced plans Wednesday to invest some 275 million pounds ($360 million) into three plants in Britain, sweeping aside concerns about growth following the country's decision to leave the European Union.

Chief Executive Andrew Witty said that Britain's "competitive corporate tax system" and skilled workforce influenced the decision to invest in the manufacturing of new respiratory and large molecule biological medicines in the U.K.

Witty was among dozens of business leaders who had argued that Britain should remain in the 28-nation EU, which provides access to a market of some 500 million.

Britain's government described GSK's investment decision as a vote of confidence in the country and its workforce.

The investment will go to Durham and Hertfordshire in England and Montrose in Scotland. The company has nine sites in the U.K., employing 6,000 people.

The news came hours before GSK reported that second-quarter operating profit before one-time items rose 15 percent at constant exchange rates to 1.83 billion pounds as sales of new products more than doubled.

Group sales increased 4 percent to 6.53 billion pounds with growth across pharmaceuticals, vaccines and in consumer healthcare.

Sales in new products were driven by HIV drugs Tivicay and Triumeq, respiratory drugs such as Relvar/Breo and meningitis vaccines like Bexsero. The company said the growth offset the decline in sales of blockbuster drugs like Advair.

GSK reported a net loss of 435 million pounds, compared with net income of 149 million pounds in the year-earlier quarter, due to currency adjustments in the valuation of liabilities associated with its consumer health-care and HIV businesses.