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Reckitt Benckiser: fourth-quarter growth ahead of consensus

( - Consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser has said that its fourth-quarter sales grew 4% like-for-like, underpinned by a strong performance of its health business in the US.

The growth, ahead of consensus expectations for 3.3%, sent Reckitt's shares 4.5% higher at 6,289 pence in London this morning.

The British maker of Finish dishwasher tablets, Nurofen painkillers and Air Wick air fresheners said it expects this "momentum to continue," targeting 3%-to-4% growth this year.

Its adjusted operating margin was 26.7%, down 60 basis points as reported, also in line with the consensus.

The decline in its margin was driven by the combination of input cost headwinds, which RB expects to continue in the near terms, and a tough pricing environment, the group said.

On a brighter note, the "difficult" pricing environment is improving, it said.

RB also said that its plans to create two structurally independent business units - one for health and the other for hygiene - remain on track for completion in mid-2020.

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