Reckitt defies recession with annual profit surge

RECKITT Benckiser, which makes products including Nurofen, saw profits jump by 23 per cent last year despite the recession.

The company said 2009 had been a good year and predicted growth in 2010. Reckitt’s drug Suboxone – a heroin substitute – accounted for 16 per cent of the profits. “Our five per cent target is still challenging given the level of consumer confidence, but we believe this is achievable. Based on the current market outlook, we are confident of achieving continued good growth in 2010,” said CEO Bart Becht.

In the year to 31 December, pre-tax profits jumped 13 per cent to £1.4bn. Revenues grew eight per cent boosted by significant investment in media and marketing, and new products.

The final dividend jumped 19 per cent to 57p a share, bringing the total dividend for last year to 100p – 25 per cent more than 2008.

The group, which also makes Finish dishwash products and Cillit Bang cleaners, reported fourth-quarter net profit of £448m compared with a consensus forecast of £447m.

Reckitt lost its exclusive licence in early October for its Suboxone heroin substitute drug and will face competition from other makers.