Household goods giant Reckitt Benckiser has raised revenue forecasts for the full year after strong growth at its infant formula business.
The firm, which employs 1,200 employees at its Hull operations, said second-quarter revenues came in at £3bn, marking a 23 per cent rise at actual exchange rates or 29 per cent when stripped of currency effects.
The group owns a suite of household brands including Dettol, Durex, Clearasil and Gaviscon,
Reckitt’s like-for-like sales rose 4 per cent, ahead of analyst forecasts for a 2.9 per cent rise.
Its Infant Formula and Child Nutrition division – which took over Mead Johnson Nutrition last year – saw stronger than expected sales, driven by demand in China.
The hygiene business saw strong growth in North America, helping make up for a weaker performance in Europe where the company continues to suffer from pricing pressures.
Pre-tax profits for the half year to June 30 rose 9.5 per cent to £1.1bn.
Reckitt has raised its revenue growth targets to 14-15 per cent at constant exchange rates – up from previous expectations for 13-14 per cent.
It expects like-for-like revenue growth to come in at the upper end of 2-3 per cent.
Chief executive Rakesh Kapoor said: “Delivering growth and the successful integration of MJN (Mead Johnson Nutrition) remain our key priorities. Q2 was a quarter of progress against both of these priorities.
“MJN integration is well on track, with the Infant Formula and Child Nutrition division performance exceeding expectations and synergies being delivered.”
He said that the restructuring plan, which involves reorganising the business into two business units – Health and Hygiene Home – was driving greater focus.
Steve Clayton, of Hargreaves Lansdown, called it a strong set of results for the household goods giant, which he said should be “well received” after a few tough quarters.
He said the Mead Johnson Nutrition deal, which took the group into the infant formula market in China and the US, “is looking increasingly promising”.
“The business had been struggling when Reckitt Benckiser acquired it, but sales are now moving apace, led by renewed strength in China,” he added.
Reckitt suffered a damaging cyber attack last year, but Mr Clayton said the business appears to have regained its composure.