Reckitt Benckiser sees profits rise by 23% in 2009

Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser (RB) has reported a 23% increase in profits for 2009, thanks to increased sales in its bigger brands such as Cillit Bang and Nurofen.

The group, which also makes Finish dishwasher products and Vanish stain remover, posted a 14% rise in fourth-quarter net profit to £448m,and says its expects to see good growth in 2010.

Bart Becht, the firm’s chief executive, said 2009 was “a very good year and based on the current outlook, we are confident of achieving continued good growth in 2010.”

In the year to 31 December, operating profits jumped 23% to £1.89bn . Of these, 16% of RB’s profits come from Suboxone, a heroin substitute.

Becht said it would be inappropriate to declare group targets for the drug but estimates the business should have 10% growth in operating profits.

Reckitt Benckiser recently announced it is to integrate its household/personal care and healthcare businesses to bring the UK business in line with RB in other markets, where it already operates as a single business unit.

It says by integrating the business, it will become one of the UK’s leading FMCG companies and one of the market’s major advertisers.

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