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UK Sparks: Reckitt Benckiser To Pay $1.4bn In US Settlement


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Reckitt Benckiser Group is to pay up to $1.4bn in a settlement to resolve all US federal investigations into the company in relation to the sales and marketing of opioid addiction treatment Suboxone Film by its former prescription pharmaceuticals business Indivior. The company had reached agreements with the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. Indivior was demerged from the group in 2014. Reckitt says it “acted lawfully at all times and expressly denies all allegations that it engaged in any wrongful conduct”.

It believes the agreement is in the “best interests” of the company and its shareholders as it avoids “costs, uncertainty and distraction” associated with continued investigations, litigation and the potential for an indictment at a time when it is undergoing “significant transformation” and a change of chief executive. The settlement is a “non-criminal resolution,” agreed on the basis that there is no admission of any violation of law or any wrongdoing by Reckitt or any group employee. It will be funded through existing borrowing facilities and cashflow. Reckitt has already taken a $400m provision for the potential cost and will increase this to $1.5bn at its interim results.

Separately, Indivior has raised its profits and revenues guidance, stating that Suboxone has lost market share at a slower than expected pace. The company now anticipates full-year net income, excluding exceptional items, of between $80m-$130m on revenues of between $670m-$720m.

Land Securities Group chief executive Rob Noel has informed the company of his intention to retire in 2020. He will continue in his role until a replacement is in, after an “appropriate handover period”. Land Securities will now begin a formal search process to identify and appoint a successor. Mr Noel says he has led teams in his seven years as CEO that have “transformed the portfolio, culture and financial strength of the business”. He adds: “With the business well positioned for the current market, a growing pipeline and a clear strategy for the future, it’s the right time for me to move on.”

Reinsurance group Swiss Re has suspended plans to float ReAssure Group, its closed life insurance company, on the London Stock Exchange. The flotation had been expected to value ReAssure at up to £3.3bn.

Finally, Diploma, the specialised technical products and services group, has bought the assets and trade of Virginia Sealing Products, an American supplier of gaskets and fluid sealing products, for £56m plus a deferred amount of up to £8m, subject to operating profit targets bring achieved. The business being acquired, which is based in Virginia and was previously owned by Paul and David Malgee, reported pre-tax profits of £5.8m on revenues of £35.7m last year.

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