HC Deb 23 October 1973 vol 861 cc487-8W
Mr. Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what he estimates to be the current market value of the assets of the three largest firms producing pharmaceuticals in the United Kingdom.

Sir G. Howe

The current market value of assets is not available. The estimated market value on 17th October of the ordinary shares of Imperial Chemical Industries was £1,153 million, of Beecham Group £396 million, and of Glaxo Hold-

Industrial acquisitions and mergers as recorded in (a)" Business Monitor" (published by Government Statistical Service) Acquisitions and mergers within the scope of the Monopolies and Mergers Act 1965 (Section 6) Mergers referred to Monopolies Commission Mergers abandoned immediately after reference Mergers abandoned after an adverse report by Monopolies Commission Mergers which took place after clearance by Monopolies Commission
1972 1,210 114 3 1 2
1973 (1st half) 617 63 4(b) 3 —(b)
(a) Acquisitions and mergers involving financial companies (insurance banking, etc.) are not included.
(b) The proposed merger ot British Match Corporation Ltd. and Wilkinson Sword Ltd. was referred to the Commission in the first half of 1973. A favourable report was published on 8th October and the companies have announced their intention to proceed with the merger.

All of the mergers which fell within the scope of the Monopolies and Mergers Act 1965 would also have been within the scope of the Fair Trading Act 1973. Statistics are not available of mergers which occurred in this period and which would have been within the scope of the Fair Trading Act—had it been in operation—but were not within the scope of the 1965 Act, namely mergers which created or intensified a combined market share of between 25 per cent. and 33⅓ per cent. and involved the acquisition of total assets of less than £5 million.

The two proposed mergers in 1972 which were abandoned after an adverse report by the Monopolies Commission were the two bids by Beecham and Boots for Glaxo. The main disadvantage seen by the commission to either merger was ings £277 million. The sales analyses given in company accounts suggest that these are the three quoted companies which are the largest producers of pharmaceuticals.