Cold and flu season boosts demand for Strepsils at Reckitt Benckiser

Consumer products giant Reckitt Benckiser reported decent growth in the first quarter with its Health division performing strongly as a more favourable cold and flu season increased the demand for Strepsils, Mucinex and certain Nurofen products.

Consumer products giant Reckitt Benckiser reported decent growth in the first quarter with its Health division performing strongly as a more favourable cold and flu season increased the demand for Strepsils, Mucinex and certain Nurofen products.

Net revenue tolled £2,517m in the first three months of 2013, up 7.0% at constant currency and 7.0% higher on a like-for-like basis. Excluding Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals (RBP), growth was 6.0%.

The firm said that it is well-placed to achieved its full-year target for revenue growth of 5-6% at constant exchange (excluding RBP).

Health, which accounts for 27% of revenues, saw sales grow 30% (up 13% on a LFL basis) to £597m as all of its 'powerbrands' registered growth due to strong performances from flu-related brands.

"This was due to higher incidences of cold and flu in the US supported by increased TV and digital BEI initiatives as we leveraged increased cold & flu search volumes."

The Durex brand was also performing well, helped from greater exposure in China and the roll-out of a new product in a number of markets.

The biggest division, Hygiene (46% of revenue), registered 7.0% growth (LFL up 9.0%) driven by strong growth in the Dettol and Lysol brands across both the emerging markets, and Europe and North America.

The Home division (22% of revenue) reported sales of £488m, unchanged on last year on a reported basis (LFL up 2.0%) was a difficult consumer environment weighed on the performance.

RBP saw strong growth of 19%, helped by underlying growth in prescriptions in the US. "As signalled with our 2012 full year numbers, the Q1 2013 reported growth was increased by the sell-in to drug wholesalers of new 4mg and 12mg film dosages, and the tail of the high Medicaid accruals in Q1 2012."

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