Unilever has acquired GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Indian arm for €3.3 billion ($3.7bn), as it looks to increase its presence across Asia.

The deal is one of the biggest made during outgoing chief executive Paul Polman’s tenure, with the agreement including GSK’s Health Food Drinks portfolio (GSK HFD) in India, Bangladesh and other markets in the region.

Hindustan Unilever (HUL) will now fully acquire GSK’s Consumer Healthcare India unit as well as an 82 per cent stake in GSK Bangladesh Limited.

The deal will include the Horlicks Brand, which GSK announced its intention to offload last year as part of a change in focus to its pharmaceuticals business. This is despite India becoming a key market for the brand, due to Horlicks being given as a breakfast drink to children.

Unilever’s head of food and refreshment Nitin Paranjpe said: “We are delighted to be acquiring the GSK health food drinks portfolio. The iconic Horlicks brand has a deep heritage, credibility and resonance around the world. The acquisition is transformative for our foods and refreshment business allowing us to enter the health foods drinks category, further strengthening our position in health and wellness.”

Sanjiv Mehta, chief executive of Hindustan Unilever added: “With this strategic merger of Hindustan Unilever and GSK Consumer Healthcare India Limited, we will be expanding our portfolio through great brands into a new category catering to the nutritional needs of our consumers. I am confident that this merger will create significant shareholder value through both revenue and cost synergies. The turnover of our Foods & Refreshments business will now exceed Rs.100bn ($1.4bn) and we will become one of the largest F&R businesses in the country.”