RECKITT Benckiser chief executive Rakesh Kapoor said the company’s focus on expanding its health and hygiene arm was paying off as strong demand for brands such as Durex and Nurofen helped boost half-year sales.
Kapoor, who took over as chief executive in 2011, has changed the company’s strategy to concentrate on high-margin health and hygiene products to take advantage of ageing Western populations and rising incomes in emerging markets.
“I am pleased that our strong focus on health and hygiene power brands is working and our improved company growth rates confirm that we are making the right strategic choices,” he said yesterday.
Sales rose six per cent at constant exchange rates to £4.99bn in the six months to June driven by a strong performance in key emerging markets like Brazil, India and China.
Operating profits rose three per cent to £1.16bn in the period.
Healthcare, which now accounts for more than a quarter of the company’s revenues, saw like-for-like sales rise 14 per cent thanks to a lengthy flu season in the US and demand for products such as cough medicine Mucinex.
Like-for-like sales at its hygiene division were up seven per cent basis and now account for 45 per cent of the business.
Home-related products including Vanish were up two per cent.
The company said it was confident of achieving full-year group revenue growth “at the upper end” of its target range of between five and six per cent.
It also raised its interim dividend by seven per cent to 60p per share.