GSK plans Horlicks factory closure: 73 jobs at risk

By Matt Atherton contact

- Last updated on GMT

GSK revealed plans to close its Horlicks factory in Slough
GSK revealed plans to close its Horlicks factory in Slough

Related tags: Glaxosmithkline

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plans to sell its UK malted milk drink brand, Horlicks, and to close its Slough factory, putting 73 jobs at risk.

GSK revealed plans to close the hot chocolate maker’s facility on Wednesday (July 19), in a bid to “improve the efficiency and competitiveness of its manufacturing network”​. It was part of a wider restructuring move that could result in about 320 job losses.

The factory closure was subject to employee consultation, which GSK has begun immediately.

It also revealed plans to sell its MaxiNutrition brand in the UK, and to close pharmaceutical facilities in Ulverston and Worthing. It was exploring options to divest some of its smaller, non-core nutrition brands, as well, GSK said.

About 320 jobs would be lost from its manufacturing sector over the next four years, it confirmed.

‘All we can to support them’

GSK Global Manufacturing and Supply president Roger Connor said: “We have had to make some decisions which we know will cause uncertainty for some of our employees. We will do all we can to support them through this process.”

The decision to close the factory was unrelated to Brexit, GSK said.

Meanwhile, GSK also revealed plans to invest £140M in its UK respiratory and HIV medicines manufacturing. The investment followed a £275M cash injection by GSK last year.

“We have a substantial manufacturing presence in the UK and continue to support the network with new investment of more than £140M in the next three years,”​ said Connor.

‘Continuing to invest in science’

GSK Global Affairs president Philip Thomson said: “We are continuing to invest in science and our core businesses in the UK and we continue to see the UK as an attractive place for the life sciences industry.

“We are working constructively with the government and others to develop an ambitious plan for the sector as part of the UK’s new industrial strategy.”

Horlicks was bought by GSK’s previous owner, Beecham, in 1969. Its Slough factory was built in 1908 for £28,000.

The malted milk drink brand has three main products: Horlicks Traditional, Horlicks Light and Horlicks Light Chocolate.

Horlicks planned factory closure – at a glance

  • GSK plans to sell Horlicks UK brand
  • Slough factory planned closure
  • 320 job losses over four years in wider GSK manufacturing

Related topics: Dairy-based ingredients, Drinks, Services

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