GSK consumer spin-off Haleon floats in biggest London listing in a decade

·2 min read

GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer spin-off Haleon has floated on the London Stock Exchange in Europe’s biggest listing for more than a decade.

Shares in Haleon, which owns brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste and Panadol pain relief, started trading at 330p, valuing the business at more than £30 billion.

By midday, shares in the business were around 2% lower at 320p.

GSK announced plans to demerge the consumer business last year after investors put pressure on chief Emma Walmsley to focus on its core drug-making operation.

Haleon’s float will be the biggest European stock market listing for more than a decade (Haleon/PA)

In January, GSK rebuffed a £50 billion takeover offer from consumer goods rival Unilever, saying it valued the business too low.

Haleon, which has more than 22,000 workers, made roughly £1.6 billion in 2021, according to its float prospectus.

Brian McNamara, chief executive officer of Haleon, said: “This is a significant milestone for Haleon.

“Guided by our clear purpose and with a world class portfolio of brands that people know and trust, we stand ready to help address consumer needs and make better everyday health more achievable, inclusive and sustainable.

“Consumer health has never been more important than it is today, and I am delighted that Haleon, as an independent company, is ready to pursue our ambitions.

“Today follows a huge amount of effort, planning and collaboration by our dedicated colleagues all around the world.”

Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell, said: “While Haleon owns some well-known brands including Sensodyne and Advil, that may not be enough to entice a line of buyers for the stock.

“Shoppers are increasingly going for supermarket own-label products as the cost-of-living crisis hits, with plenty of cheaper options for toothpaste and headache tablets than those sold by Haleon.

“That raises the risk of Haleon struggling to deliver meaningful earnings growth in the near-term, which is hardly the best start to life as a standalone business.”