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).
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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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