February 19, 2018 / 7:26 AM / a year ago

Reckitt ends 2017 on higher note

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Reckitt Benckiser Group reported higher fourth-quarter sales on Monday, and forecast an increase for this year, ending a tough year on a better note.

The British consumer goods maker also raised its forecast for cost savings from its acquisition of Mead Johnson to around $300 million, up from $250 million announced at the time of the acquisition.

The group behind Durex condoms and Lysol disinfectant, which has struggled with the weakest performance in its history, said like-for-like sales rose 2 percent in the fourth quarter, helped by the phase-out of certain one-time items, such as a failed product launch, that had hurt sales in earlier quarters.

Analysts on average were expecting growth of 2.1 percent for the quarter.

For 2018, the company forecast revenue up 13 to 14 percent, with like-for-like sales up 2 to 3 percent.

“Whilst 2018 will see some specific factors impacting margin, we reiterate our medium-term target of moderate operating margin expansion,” the company said.

Reporting by Martinne Geller; editing by Alexander Smith and Louise Heavens

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