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Reckitt Benckiser still seeing strong prospects in China

The maker of Dettol and Nurofen said demand from Chinese consumers remained healthy despite a sales slowdown across emerging markets.

Slough-based Reckitt Benckiser highlighted strong results in China and India but admitted that markets conditions overall were tougher than a year ago, particularly in some faster-growing emerging markets.

Reckitt's operating profits for the last year rose 2% to £2.6 billion as revenues topped £10 billion following growth of 5% on a year earlier. Despite the impact of currency weakness in some emerging markets, Reckitt said it expects further revenues growth of 5% in the current year.

New products due to be launched in the period include Mucinex Allergy, a non-drowsy antihistamine, and Dettol body and hand wash.

Among its other leading brands, Reckitt said social media campaigns drove another strong performance for Durex in China, while Scholl Footcare performed well following the launch of its Pedi product for hard skin.

Across Reckitt's health division, sales were 10% higher on a like-for-like basis at £2.6 billion. In hygiene, which includes Dettol, sales rose 7% on an underlying basis to £3.8 billion, with Reckitt's Vanish and Air Wick business achieving a rise of 2% to just under £2 billion.

Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: "The results are broadly in line with expectations, with management guidance for 2014 providing confidence for the outlook.

"Acquisitions and associated cost savings have again contributed, whilst the group's focus on product innovation and investment continues to play a major part."

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