Lever ignores critics to extend new formula

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The Independent Online
LEVER BROTHERS is to press ahead with the launch of new formula Radion and Surf, its smaller British soap powder brands, despite rivals' claims that the manganese technology in its best-selling Persil brand causes damage to clothes.

Andrew Seth, chief executive of Lever Brothers - part of the Unilever group - said that new formula Radion and Surf would be on supermarket shelves by August, which underlined the group's faith in the technology.

The launch will be accompanied by a large advertising campaign although, because the combined market shares of Radion and Surf are about a quarter of Persil's, the spending is likely to be below the pounds 25m invested in Persil.

The decision to extend the formula to the full range of powders marks the latest round in a battle between Lever Brothers and Procter and Gamble, owner of arch- rival Ariel, which has launched a prolonged attack on the safety of Persil.

Mr Seth said Persil Power was now the best-selling concentrate, having overtaken Ariel at the beginning of the month for the first time since the concentrated powders were introduced in Britain.