Reckitt Benckiser says 2012 profits edge up

Reckitt Benckiser, the household goods and drugs group, said on Wednesday that net profits rose last year thanks to strong global demand for its health and hygiene products.

Earnings after taxation increased by 4.8 percent to £1.83 billion ($2.87 billion, 2.13 billion euros) in 2012, compared with £1.75 billion in 2011, Reckitt said in a results statement.

The maker of Dettol surface cleaners, Durex condoms and Nurofen pain relief pills, added that revenues grew 1.0 percent to £9.56 billion.

Reckitt's other key brands also include Air Wick air fresheners, Harpic toilet cleaners and Strepsils throat lozenges.

"A year ago we set a new purpose driven strategy to deliver growth and outperformance over the next decade," said chief executive Rakesh Kapoor in the statement.

"We are laying the foundations for Reckitt Benckiser to succeed in a world where health and hygiene play an increasingly important role in terms of both economic and social development."

"I am very pleased that our 2012 achievements demonstrate the strength of this strategy and its ability to create sustainable value for all of our stakeholders."

The London-listed company added that it was targeting net revenue growth of 5.0-6.0 percent for 2013.

The group had agreed late last year to buy US-based Schiff Nutrition for $1.4 billion (1.1 billion euros).

"We are particularly excited by our entry into the vitamins, minerals and supplements market with the acquisition of Schiff," added Kapoor.

"We are supporting our brands with more and better quality brand equity investment to deliver further growth in an increasingly competitive consumer environment."

In reaction to the results, Reckitt shares rallied 2.27 percent to 4,462 pence in afternoon deals on the London stock market.