Procter & Gamble looks to exit pharmaceuticals - FT

Thu Feb 5, 2009 1:02am EST

Feb 5 (Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) is working with Goldman Sachs Group (GS.N) to identify potential buyers for its pharmaceuticals brands or find other ways to exit the business, people close to the matter said late on Wednesday, the Financial Times reported.

P&G said its pharmaceuticals unit accounts for global sales of more than $2 billion, the paper said.

The consumer goods group, which sells brands such as Gillette razors and Crest toothpaste, has been working actively to focus more heavily on high-growth businesses and divest non-key assets, the newspaper said.

A.G. Lafley, P&G's chief executive, told analysts in December that the company had stopped investing in new drug development and would consider divesting some of its key pharmaceuticals brands, the paper said.

P&G, which reported its second-quarter results on Jan. 30, lowered its earnings and sales forecast for the fiscal year ending in June, adding to the list of household products makers tempering expectations as they deal with the recession. [ID:nN30466373]

P&G expects fiscal 2009 sales to be flat to down 4 percent.

P&G's pharmaceuticals business sells prescription drugs that focus on women's health and gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal problems, while the broader healthcare arm sells over the counter products such as heartburn treatment Prilosec and Pepto-Bismol, the newspaper said.

P&G and Goldman Sachs could not be immediately reached for comments by Reuters. (Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Kim Coghill)