By Michael Susin

Haleon was among the FTSE 100 index top performers after it said that pretax profit for 2023 slightly rose supported by better-than-expected sales, with positive volume, price and organic growth across all categories and regions, and backed its targets for 2024.

Shares at 0921 GMT were up 7.7% at 338.2 pence.

The consumer-healthcare business, which was spun out of GSK PLC and is partly owned by Pfizer Inc., reported a pretax profit of 1.63 billion pounds ($2.06 billion) compared with GBP1.62 billion a year ago.

However, adjusted pretax profit--which strips out exceptional and other one-off items--fell to GBP2.18 billion from GBP2.265 billion, missing company-provided market expectations of GBP2.215 billion.

Revenue came in at GBP11.30 billion from GBP10.86 billion, ahead of expectations of GBP11.28 billion.

Organic revenue growth rose 8%, consisting of 1.0% volumes and 7.0% price. The company had guided revenue growth to be between 7% to 8%, compared with the market consensus of 7.6%.

Adjusted operating profit rose 10.4% at constant currency to GBP2.55 billion. The company had guided for growth in the range of 9% to 11% at constant currency. Adjusted operating margin was 22.6%, slightly missing market consensus of 22.7%.

The company backed its 2024 target of organic revenue growth range of 4% to 6%. It also expects organic operating profit growth to be ahead of organic revenue growth.

These are the same targets for the medium term.

"We expect the operating environment to remain challenging. We are confident however, that we are well positioned to deliver on both guidance for 2024 and over the medium term," Chief Executive Brian McNamara said.

Haleon added that it expects to allocate GBP500 million to buy back shares in 2024.

"This reflects our focus on strong capital discipline and will partially mitigate the dilution from the brand disposals," it said.

The board declared a final dividend of 4.2 pence a share bringing the total dividend to 6.0 pence a share.

Write to Michael Susin at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-29-24 0445ET