Reckitt Benckiser raises full-year sales targets

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The Independent Online

Reckitt Benckiser, the household cleaning product and giant, has shrugged off the deteriorating economy to unveil credit crunch-defying profits and raised its 2008 forecasts.

Bart Becht, the company's chief executive, said it continued its "excellent momentum" in the third quarter and was raising its full-year target for net revenue growth from 13 per cent to "at least" 11 per cent to 12 per cent.

He said that its hefty advertising spend had helped to fuel its growth. "Strong growth came across all regions and Powerbrands, behind heavy media investment and the success of innovations such as Finish Quantum [dishwashing tablets] and Vanish Intelligence." It increased media spending by 27 per cent to a level of 12.5 per cent of total sales.

Reckitt Benckiser delivered a 31 per cent rise in adjusted operating profits to £380m for the third quarter, on net revenue up by 24 per cent to £1.66bn.

The group said it was committed to completing its £300m share buyback programme for its 2008 financial year. Between February and September 2008, Reckitt Benckiser purchased 8.7 million shares at a cost of £246m and in the third quarter it bought 2.3 million at a cost of £64m.