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Durex hopes for 'intimate' boost after K-Y acquisition


The owner of Durex condoms has expanded into the world of sexual lubricants with a deal to buy K-Y.

Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser has bought the global rights to the “intimate lubricant” brand from Johnson & Johnson-owned McNeil.

The deal is set to close in the coming months.

Reckitt has been growing its cleaning, hygiene and health brands and said this deal will “transform” its “sexual well-being category”.

It said K-Y, which started as a prescription only lubricant in 1917, reported 2013 sales of more than $100 million (£60 million), and its biggest markets are the US, Canada and Brazil.

Reckitt has been marketing its Durex condom brand as a “sexual intimacy brand” rather than just a sexual health product and said K-Y had led the growth of lubricants in the “female intimacy” segment. Reckitt described the brand as “a global leader … with a very high trust score amongst women”.

Reckitt, which owns brands including Nurofen, Clearasil and Cillit Bang, is considering selling its drugs business to concentrate on “powerbrands” that it can grow globally.

It began a strategic review of its drug business — including its treatment for heroin addiction, Suboxone — last year, and analysts expect it to sell the business this year.

Oriel Securities last month said the group has focused on brands “which are well suited to volume growth and benefit from brand-building and execution”.

Reckitt’s shares eased out 0.1 per cent to 4821p.