Belfast Telegraph

Dettol firm cleans up with £2.5bn Durex buy

By James Thompson

A household goods specialist caused waves in the consumer goods sector by unveiling a £2.5bn acquisition of the maker of Durex condoms, as it aims to grow its health and personal health revenues in Russia and Asia.

The international firm Reckitt Benckiser cited the attraction of adding SSL International brands Durex and Scholl to its other 17 so-called "power brands", including the Vanish stain remover, Finish dishwasher powder, Harpic toilet cleaner, and disinfectant Dettol.

Investors in SSL International, whose other main brand is Scholl comfort footwear, toasted the deal by sending its shares up by a third to 1176p.

SSL has also expanded aggressively in countries such as Russia, and has trebled its profits in the last five years.

It has also extended the breadth of its Durex and Scholl brands, such as into sex toys and insoles for high heels.

The deal is a further sign of appetite returning for mergers and acquisitions after a hiatus during the credit crisis.

This week alone two big deals have been unveiled. Tomkins, the London-based manufacturer of car parts, received a £2.9bn takeover from a Canadian consortium.

And Reckitt rival Unilever agreed to sell its Italian frozen foods business to Birds Eye Iglo, which is owned by the private equity firm Permira, for €805m (£685m).