Reckitt Benckiser to focus on 'powerbrands' with centralised marketing set-up

Finish: one of Reckitt Benckiser's 'powerbrands'
Finish: one of Reckitt Benckiser's 'powerbrands'

Reckitt Benckiser is to hive off its pharmaceutical division, which houses drugs such as heroin addiction treatment Suboxone, as a standalone business, so that it can focus its efforts on consumer "powerbrands" such as Finish, Nurofen and Durex.

The move is designed to help the business cut costs and drive efficiencies. Marketing for its consumer brands will no longer be handled on a country-by-country basis, but rather across large "regions", with a single team being responsible for Europe and North America for instance.

The FMCG firm made the announcement today, while reporting its financial results for the second quarter, with half-year operating profits up 16% year on year to £1.06bn.

Reckitt Benckiser’s pharmaceutical business contributes a smaller proportion of profits than it did, kicking off a strategic review of the business, which has resulted in today’s announcement.

Chief executive Rakesh Kapoor said: "We believe that RB Pharmaceuticals has the potential to deliver significant long-term value creation as a standalone business.

"We have therefore decided to pursue a demerger of RB Pharmaceuticals with a separate UK listing. We expect this to take place over the next 12 months. This will also allow RB to focus on its core strategy to be a global leader in consumer health and hygiene."

The news follows an announcement on 24 July that the company is to invest £100m in its consumer health research and development, with the creation of a "state-of-the-art" Centre of Scientific Excellence, which will be based in the UK.

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