(Alliance News) - Haleon PLC shares were up on Thursday, as the company reported single-digit revenue growth following a year of disposals.

Haleon is a Surrey, England-based consumer healthcare company, with notable brands including Sensodyne, Panadol and Advil. Shares in the company were up 6.4% at 333.95 pence each in London on Thursday morning.

Haleon's revenue for 2023 was up 4.1% to GBP11.30 billion from GBP10.86 billion in 2022, an 8.0% increase at an organic rate.

This was in spite of an adverse foreign exchange impact of GBP416 million, Haleon said, driven by the strengthening of the sterling against the Argentine peso, Chinese renminbi and other currencies.

Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America as a region reported the best improvement, with revenue rising 6.4% to GBP4.55 billion from GBP4.26 billion.

Pretax profit was up 0.6% to GBP1.63 billion from GBP1.62 billion, while operating profit rose 9.4% to GBP2.00 billion from GBP1.83 billion.

Basic earnings per share were down to 11.4p from 11.5p.

Haleon has proposed a final dividend of 4.2p, bringing the annual dividend to 6.0p, ahead of 2022's 2.4p dividend.

Haleon narrowed its net debt to GBP8.51 billion at December 31 from GBP9.87 billion a year before.

The company said it will continue the portfolio optimisation strategy it pursued in 2023, having disposed of Lamisil antifungals in October before announcing the USD430 million sale of Chapstick to Suave Brands Co LLC in January. The company expects the Chapstick sale to complete in the second quarter.

Commenting on this strategy, Chief Executive Officer Brian McNamara said: "We will continue to actively manage our portfolio, with the agreement to dispose of ChapStick and Lamisil two examples, simplifying the business and increasing focus on our higher growth brands. Our productivity programme is progressing well and the savings from this will enable us to increase investment across the business, underpin operational leverage and support our evolution into a more agile organisation."

Looking ahead to 2024, the company anticipates organic revenue growth of between 4% and 6%.

Haleon also expects organic operating profit growth to outpace organic revenue growth.

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

By Hugh Cameron, Alliance News reporter

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