Household goods, health and hygiene giant Reckitt Benckiser got a shot in the arm from high incidents of cold and flu in Europe and a strong performance in emerging markets, as it reported better than expected Q4 results today.

Reckitt said strong sales of over the counter (OTC) products such as throat sweets Strepsils and chesty cough medicine Mucinex had helped it overcome “difficult market conditions” affecting the economy across Europe.

Sales in Europe and North America grew 3% in Q4 (ending Dec 31 2012), it said.

Like for like for the company as a whole were up 6% and it said it was on track to make emerging regions account for 50% and health and hygiene account for 75%of its business by 2015, a year ahead of schedule

Yesterday Reckitt announced an agreement to licence OTC healthcare brands in Latin America for $482m.

“We are laying the foundations for RB to succeed in a world where health and hygiene play an increasingly important role in terms of both economic and social development,” said RB chief executive, Rakesh Kapoor.