Indeed, the shares currently yield an impressive 4.4% despite rising by more than 30% in the last three years alone. Clearly, it is understandable why the shares usually form a key part of many investors' portfolios.
However, pigeonholing Glaxo as being little more than a source of income is, in my view, a tad unfair.
Of course, we all know the familiar story that the developed world has an ageing population, which will require treatments and health care in future on a larger scale than it currently does. This situation undoubtedly presents an opportunity for health care companies such as Glaxo.
However, the potential for share-price gains also exists over a much shorter investment horizon.
Unlike stable mate AstraZeneca, Glaxo has successfully managed its portfolio of patented blockbuster products. Indeed, it seems to have avoided a so-called patent cliff -- where old patents expire, there are no new products to replace them, and revenue then declines significantly.
This year alone, Glaxo is hoping to gain regulatory approval for a handful of potentially blockbuster treatments, with the latest positive news coming at the end of May when approval was obtained for two of the company's medicines to treat advanced melanoma in patients with certain gene mutations.
Of course, approvals are not guaranteed but it appears as though the company is, in sporting terminology, throwing a lot of darts so that it has a good chance of hitting the bull's-eye.
In addition, the shares currently trade on a P/E of 14.3 and offer fairly brisk earnings-per-share growth of around 6.5% per annum.
Although Glaxo's shares trade on a higher multiple than peers such as AstraZeneca and the market as a whole, I believe the potential for the company to deliver positive news flow means the shares remain attractive at the current price of 1,670 pence.
Even if the above is not enough to get your pulse racing, the shares sit at No. 19 in the top yielders of the FTSE 100 index. Buy them for an income, yes. Just don't think that's all you could be getting!
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