Reckitt Benckiser ups profits target
Friday 30 August 2002
Reckitt Benckiser, the Anglo-Dutch maker of Mr Sheen polish, Vanish stain remover and Dettol antiseptic, raised its full-year targets yesterday after a host of new products buoyed sales in the first half.
The group said growth in Western Europe and North America on the back of product launches such as flushable Harpic loo wipes and Woolite Black for dark coloured clothes had "more than" offset difficult trading conditions in certain developing markets.
In line with analysts' expectations, it raised its target for annual net income growth to 18 per cent against earlier forecasts of 12 to 15 per cent growth. It added that revenues would also grow at the upper end of the 4 to 6 per cent range previously announced.
Bart Becht, the chief executive, said the group, which was formed in 1999 by Reckitt & Colman's takeover of the Dutch company Benckiser, was on the hunt for acquisitions. Eradicating the group's debt by the end of 2002 would leave it free to spend up to £1bn, he said, adding that if no deals materialised the cash would go back to shareholders.
The group's bullish outlook helped send its shares to the top of the FTSE 100 risers. They gained 7 per cent to close up 72p at 1180p.
"The new targets are clearly based on results to date, with a 21 per cent rise in second-quarter profits indicating that for the remaining part of the year an 18 per cent rise is justified," Mr Becht said.
The group beat market forecasts to report a 4 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the six months to end-June to £237m. Sales increased 3.5 per cent to £1.76bn.
Analysts said Reckitt may enter the auction for the Germany conglomerate Bayer's household insecticide arm, which could fetch £750m. Pfizer's Schick-Wilkinson Sword shaving business could also be a target, they added.
Reckitt said operating margins had edged closer to its aim of catching those at its US rivals. A 130 basis points rise in its operating margin to 16.5 per cent already puts it ahead of European peers such as Unilever and Henkel.
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 4 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who ran away after argument with her parents
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Sepp Blatter resigns: FBI are investigating outgoing Fifa president, claims report
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...
£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...
£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...