Household product maker Reckitt Benckiser said today that a range of successful new cleaning products helped deliver a strong start to the financial year.
The Anglo-Dutch group, which makes products such as Lemsip, Dettol, Airwick air fresheners and Harpic disinfectant, said the first quarter positioned it well to reach full-year targets.
Operating profits lifted by 24% to £145m (€215.5m) while margins lifted 53.7% after a substantial increase in the marketing of new products.
Reckitt, which posted record annual profits in February, said revenues rose 8% to £920m (€1.4bn) in the quarter to March 31, although this was affected by the weakness of the US dollar.
Pre-tax profits increased from £111m (€165m)to £142m (€211m).
Significant contributors to the first quarter included the group’s new Vanish Oxi Action carpet cleaner and Lysol toilet cleaning brush.
The group was also helped by widespread outbreaks of flu, which boosted sales of Lemsip.
Revenues in the health and personal care division saw the highest rise, lifting 20% to £138m (€205m).
This was helped by the success of the Veet Rasera bladeless razor, while Dettol antiseptic recorded growth in developing markets.
Revenues in the fabric care arm were 14% higher, while home care revenues rose 13% after strong demand for pest control products.
The group’s food division also saw double-digit growth, with revenues 16% higher at £36m (€53.5m) following a good performance across the portfolio - particularly the recently launched Frank’s Red Hot Chile & Lime.
Chief executive Bart Becht said Reckitt was well positioned to reach full-year targets of 5% growth in revenues and low double-digit growth in net income.
Reckitt, created from Reckitt & Colman’s merger with Dutch group Benckiser in 1999, employs a global workforce of 22,300.