Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 09:31 UK

Swine flu boosts handwash sales

The firm has been helped by "additional focus on hand hygiene"

Soap firm PZ Cussons has seen a sharp growth in sales of anti-bacterial handwashes as consumers look to ward off germs amid swine flu fears.

The firm said its Carex waterless hand gels were selling "particularly well".

PZ Cussons - which owns the Imperial Leather and Original Source brands - saw a 16% rise in pre-tax profits to £88.8m for the year to May 31.

Official swine flu advice suggests washing hands with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus.

Other tips include avoiding close contact with people who appear unwell and who have a fever and a cough.

Cussons operates mainly in the UK, Nigeria, Australia and Indonesia, and said that despite the difficult economic environment, it had seen good trading in all regions.

In the UK, it said Carex sales were surging by up to 200% "in a climate where there is additional consumer focus on hand hygiene".

The firm is also behind the Charles Worthington haircare brand and the Sanctuary spa range of products.

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