Some Global Lines Will Be Merged or Discontinued

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CINCINNATI ( -- Reckitt Benckiser wants to concentrate more marketing resources behind 15 leading brands by 2005 by discontinuing and merging some of its 200 global brands over the next three years, the marketer said.

The decision, which goes by the name Powerbrands 2005, aims to increase the share of Reckitt Benckiser's sales generated by its 15 largest brands to 50% from around 40% today.

Some of the work has already been done, such as transforming the company's Lip detergent for fine washables in Italy to Woolite in recent years.

But in a conference with analysts in London on Wednesday, Reckitt Chairman-CEO Bart Becht acknowledged some of the program would be riskier.

For example, the Electrasol automatic dishwash detergent brand in the U.S. and its Calgonit and Finish counterpart brands in Europe each already rank among the company's 15 largest.

Plans call for merging them into a single global brand, Mr. Becht said, but the name hasn't been selected yet ,and the process will take until 2005 to minimize share erosion because of the shift.

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