Reckitt Benckiser, the household and personal products group, has reported a 20% increase in net income to £586m for the full year, aided by a particularly strong fourth quarter.

Bart Becht, chief executive officer for the company said: “The fourth quarter was a very good quarter for Reckitt Beckiser. For the first time, the company broke the billion pound net revenue barrier and earned over £200m net income for the quarter - equivalent to the underlying profit for the full year in 1999.

Operating profit grew 7% for the fourth quarter to £243, with success being seen in particular from its Vanish Oxi Action brands, especially the new additions to the range, and also its Airwick air freshener brand.

Other new launches also proved successful for the company, such as its Calgonit/Finish 3-in-1 Extra Power dishwashing product and the roll-out of Gaviscon in Europe.

Its Lemsip brand also contributed to a strong fourth quarter due to a long season of flu in the UK.