- Global Pharma News & Resources

GNC and Harbin Pharmaceutical Announce $300 Million Strategic Investment and China Joint Venture

GNC Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: GNC) (the "Company") today announced it has reached an agreement regarding a strategic partnership and China joint venture agreement with Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Holding Co., Ltd ("Hayao"), a leading pharmaceutical company in China. Under the terms of the agreement Hayao will invest approximately $300 million in GNC, becoming the single largest shareholder in GNC (on an as converted basis). In addition, GNC and Hayao have agreed to form a joint venture for the manufacturing, marketing, sale and distribution of GNC-branded products in China, leveraging the synergies between Hayao and GNC in the fast growing Chinese market. CITIC Capital Holdings Limited ("CITIC Capital"), as a major shareholder of Hayao, is supportive of the transaction.

GNC also announced plans to amend certain terms and extend the maturity date of its existing term loan facility due March 2019. The Company is seeking to extend the maturity date of the facility by two years, to March 2021. Upon effectiveness of the amendment, the maturity date of the term loans held by lenders consenting to the amendment will be extended by two years, the Company's existing Revolving Credit Facility will be cancelled and GNC will enter into a New $100 million ABL Revolver. The Company will also issue a $275 million ABL Term Loan as part of the maturity extension. GNC has the been in discussions with its largest term loan lenders who have indicated their support for the extension until March 2021 and to permit the Company to enter into a new asset based credit facility concurrently with the closing of the proposed amendment and extension.   As noted, the Hayao transaction is conditioned upon the successful completion of these negotiations.

"Today's announcements represent important and exciting steps in our efforts to optimize our capital structure and build on our recent momentum as we position GNC to drive growth, improve financial performance and enhance long-term shareholder value," said Ken Martindale, GNC chief executive officer. "Hayao's investment in GNC is a testament to the strength of our brand and the tremendous global opportunity ahead, including in China. By partnering with Hayao and pursuing plans to amend and extend our term loan facility, we enhance our capital structure and financial flexibility and establish a strong platform for growth in the Chinese market."