As quarterly profit falls 25.1 percent, GlaxoSmithKline to separate 'legacy' products, perhaps for future sale

 As drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline reported 25.1 percent lower after-tax profit in the first quarter of 2013 compared to a year earlier, chief executive officer Andrew Witty said Wednesday that the company would reorganize its pharmaceutical operations, opening the potential of sale of older brands.

Glaxo is based in London, but has about 1300 employees in Philadelphia's Navy Yard and more in other facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Witty said the company would shift about 50 "legacy" prescription medicines that are promoted lightly, if at all, into one category and that group's finances would be reported separately starting in January of 2014.

Glaxo has a consumer segment that sells such things as toothpaste and denture products. But the other two pharmaceutical groups would be one that deals with products currently on the market and receiving promotional resources, with the second being products in the pipeline but not yet approved or launched. Glaxo has submitted six drugs for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.

Witty said the legacy products amount to about 3 billion pounds ($4.5 billion) in revenue, and he was asked if it signaled an intent to sell those products.

"How it might play forward beyond that is an option question," Witty said from London in a conference call with reporters. "It is a sensible move for us to make sure we are maximizing value in the short run. But, of course, it opens optionality for the future. I would not give any guidance on how or when that might evolve, but it opens some optionality."

Witty said Wednesday, as he has done in the past, that he has no plans to enter the generic drug market.

A link to the quarterly financial report is here.