Reckitt earnings boosted by Suboxone drug

Consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser posted a 10 per cent rise in second-quarter earnings on Monday helped by last year's SSL acquisition and the success of the film version of its Suboxone drug.

The British group said it was well positioned to achieve its 2011 targets of a 12 per cent rise in net revenue and a 10 per cent rise in net income growth, both at constant exchange rates.

Reckitt Benckiser, whose shares fell seven per cent on the day in April when Chief Executive Bart Becht announced his surprise decision to retire in September, has recently been the subject of takeover speculation.

The maker of Cillit Bang cleaners and Nurofen painkillers, which took over Durex condoms and Scholl sandals maker SSL late last year, said second-quarter adjusted earnings were 56.8 pence a share, taking the half-year figure to 109 pence, also up 10 percent.

That compares with analysts average first quarter forecast of 56.5 pence, according to a ThomsonReuters data.

Reckitt, which also makes Air Wick air fresheners, Vanish fabric cleaners and Finish dishwash products, has been buoyed by strong sales in emerging markets and the success of a new version of its heroin substitute drug Suboxone which it hopes will extend the life of the product after it lost patent protection in October 2009.

The film version of Suboxone, which dissolves on the tongue, is used by recovering heroin addicts and is easier to take than traditional tablets. This has boosted the company's pharmaceuticals business, which makes a fifth of group profits.

The group aims to offset increased costs for inputs such as crude oil, plastics, palm oil and rubber with price rises and cost savings. It is also looking for growth in emerging markets as it faces tough markets in Europe and North America.

The firm is paying an interim dividend of 55.0 pence, up 10 per cent