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All I Want For Christmas Is… GlaxoSmithKline plc

FTSE 100 pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) (NYSE: GSK.US) has been a favourite of mine for a while. The sector has been a reliable source of income for investors because it tends to perform well regardless of the economic cycle. Unfortunately, there are always going to be sick people in need of treatment, creating a reliable revenue stream for the big pharma companies. 

However, I wouldn’t buy a share just because it happens to operate in a desirable sector. GSK has excelled on many counts. Since 2009, it has achieved more Food and Drug Administration approvals of new molecular entities, or new drugs to me or you, than any other company, a fairly impressive achievement.

It only has one “blockbuster” drug, Advair, that accounts for over £1bn of sales. Unfortunately its patent has already expired, and its £5bn sales are being put under pressure from generics. Management are confident, however, that the seven respiratory treatments in late-stage development should maintain the company’s leading position in respiratory treatment over the long term.

With 40 NMEs in late-stage development and a great R&D record, Glaxo has a pipeline that should carry it comfortably into the future. While we wait for some of these to develop, the company pays a 5.4% dividend well covered by cash flow, even if earnings cover is a bit low at 0.9x.

Indeed, GlaxoSmithKline is one of five shares in the FTSE 100 that our top analysts have highlighted in our special report "5 Shares To Retire On". To find out the reasons behind their inclusion, and the names of the other four shares, simply click here to have it delivered completely free to your inbox.

Zach Coffell has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended GlaxoSmithKline. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.