Durex maker reports flat like-for-like sales in Q1

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Condom brand Durex, heartburn product Gaviscon, and sore throat tablets Strepsils also saw good growth.

Geographically, total revenue in Europe, North America and Australasia rose by 12%, while growing by 21% in the Middle East, Turkey, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

On a like-for-like basis, revenue in the former fell by 2% as revenue in the latter grew by 4%.

Earlier this month, Reckitt said it is exploring "all options", including a sale, for its food business, which includes French's mustard and Frank's Red Hot sauce. Strategic review of the Food business commenced.

Sales in Germany and Italy, for example, were lower than the year-ago period, when it launched the new Scholl "Wet & Dry Express pedi" foot file for hard skin, which failed to catch on.

He added: "I expect our growth trajectory to improve as we progress through the year and we remain on track to achieve our full year net revenue target of +3% LFL growth*".

Chief executive Rakesh Kapoor, who saw his pay slashed by more than a third to £14.6 million a year ago, said the "results are in line with expectations as macro conditions remain challenging". Reckitt Benckiser's business in South Korea has collapsed over its handling of a safety scandal in which it is said that 92 people were believed to have died from lung injuries related to humidifier sterilizers it once sold there.

Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser has confirmed its acquisition of baby formula firm Mead Johnson should be completed by the end of September.

"We remain very confident that the strategic direction we are pursuing will continue to drive shareholder value", Kapoor added. It had said this month that it was reviewing a business it called "non-core" as it looks to pay down debt from Mead Johnson.

However, he said the "headwinds" should ease as the year progressed and that he was "encouraged" to see Reckitt sticking to its full year target of 3% growth. The Group noted that the ongoing impact on profit is expected to be small, though this is subject to the detailed product classifications.