Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) said it will pay $1.4billion (£1billion) to settle US federal investigations into Suboxone, an opioid addiction drug made by its former subsidiary Indivior. Indivior (INDV), which was fully spun out as a separate company from Reckitt in 2014, was accused of wrongly marketing a new version of Suboxone, a drug used by people with heroin addiction, as having a lower risk of being abused. But prosecutors said Indivior knew the film form of the drug could potentially be more dangerous than other drugs, but still marketed it that way for nearly ten years – between 2006 and 2015. Indivior was indicted, and if found guilty it could be liable to pay as much as $3billion (£2.4billion). But despite the investigations, Soboxone Film has continued to sell well and better than the company had expected in the first half, helping it to lift its outlook for the year. In a trading update also issued today, Indivior said it now expects net revenue to be in the range of $670million to $720million, up from previous guidance of $525million to $575million.
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) managing director of clothing and home Jill McDonald has left the business having served less than two years in the role after failing to revitalise its flagging fashion department. Steve Rowe – the firm’s chief executive – will resume the day-to-day running of the division himself in efforts to directly address ‘long-standing issues’ in the firm’s supply chain ‘around availability and flow of product’. ‘Given the importance of this task to M&S I will be overseeing this programme directly,’ Rowe said in a statement. M&S has been criticised for not holding enough stock of its most-popular fashion ranges – such as the best sellers modelled by Holly Willoughby.
Sofa retailer DFS Furniture (DFS) has seen sales rise in the last year, but said that was against weak comparatives the year before, and warned progress will be linked to what happens with Brexit. ‘Despite a solid trading performance, we remain mindful of the risk that the volatile political and economic backdrop may further impact on already low consumer confidence levels,’ the company said. ‘Our progress in the near term will inevitably be somewhat dependent on this backdrop.’ The sofa retailer reported underlying gross sales growth of 7% for the 52 weeks to June 30. Online growth was particularly strong, growing 17%. The company confirmed that profit before tax would rise about 35% to £50million, in line with its expectations. Along with the update, the company also announced the appointment of Mike Schmidt as its new chief financial officer and executive director with immediate effect. Mr Schmidt has been serving in the role on an interim basis, having previously been the group’s chief development officer.
North Sea oil and gas firm Hurricane Energy (HUR) reassured investors by upgrading its production forecasts from next year. It expects to pump out as much as 20,000 barrels of oil per day at its Lancaster well from 2020, up from previous guidance of 17,000. Earlier this month Hurricane bosses chose to plug and abandon its Warwick Deep well, because it was not producing enough to be profitable.
Holiday stocks were boosted by Jet2 owner Dart Group (DTG) saying it was ‘simply untrue’ that Brits have stopped going abroad. The company’s revenues rose 32% to £3.1billion, while profits jumped by more than a third to £178million. This lifted shares by 38p, to 880p, and pushed Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 1.25p, higher to 13.28p.