Condom maker SSL sees sales growth but news isn't enough to lift its shares

Condom maker SSL International is on course to hit its earnings targets after sales grew 20 per cent during the first half of the year, the company said yesterday.<br /><br />SSL, whose products include Durex condoms and Scholl footwear, said sales in the six months to 30 September were up 20 per cent to &pound;387m, from &pound;322.5m in the same period last year. SSL chief executive Garry Watts said the company was confident of achieving its goal of growing earnings per share by 50 per cent in the three years to March 2012.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are pleased with the first half performance,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Our core business continued to show good like-for-like growth notwithstanding the challenging economic conditions in the period.&rdquo;<br /><br />Despite the confident outlook, SSL shares closed one per cent lower at 635p yesterday. The stock has risen 33 per cent since the beginning of the year. The group has been the subject of takeover speculation, with household product group Reckitt Benckiser and pharmaceuticals group GlaxoSmithKline mentioned as potential bidders.