US flu season keeps Reckitt in good health

Kasmira Jefford
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DEMAND for throat lozenges and other products to fend off coughs and colds helped Reckitt Benckiser beat first quarter expectations, the maker of Strepsils and Nurofen painkillers reported yesterday.

Total net revenue increased seven per cent to £2.52bn in the three months to the end of March, driven by strong growth across its health and hygiene division after a severe flu season in North America.

“Mucinex and Strepsils have done particularly well, benefiting from a higher incidence of flu in the US and cold, flu and sinus innovations,” Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive, said.

Other so-called powerbrands such as Nurofen and Durex also performed well, with like-for-like sales across its health division up 13 per cent in the quarter.

The FTSE 100 firm said its condom brand was benefiting from “further penetration in China” and the successful roll-out of its Real Feel condoms in a number of markets.

Reckitt’s hygiene division grew nine per cent on a like-for-like basis, driven by sales of Dettol and Lysol disinfectants and strong growth in emerging markets.

The firm has been increasing its exposure to emerging markets such as India, Brazil and China.