StockBeat: Reckitt, Indivior Surge as Opioid Cloud Lifts

July 11
17:04 2019

By Geoffrey Smith — The opioid shadow hanging over U.K.-based health and consumer group Reckitt Benckiser (LON:RB) lifted Thursday as the company announced it would settle all federal U.S. claims against it for $ 1.4 billion.

Reckitt was up 2.6% by 4:45 AM ET (0845 GMT) on the news, easily outperforming a broader U.K. market in which the FTSE 100 was up only 0.2%, as well as other European markets which were all tending higher after numerous signals from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday that a cut in U.S. interest rates is likely at the end of the month.

The settlement is eye-catchingly high – more than double the $ 600 million fine paid by OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma in 2007, which was until today the highest single payment to come out of the U.S. opioid scandal. But from Reckitt’s point of view, it’s a price worth paying to insulate it from any further costs that may arise if and when its former pharmaceutical unit Indivior – which was indicted in April on federal charges of fraudulent marketing for its anti-addiction product Suboxone – comes to trial.

“It avoids the cost, uncertainty, and distraction associated with continued investigations, litigation, and potential for an indictment at a time of significant transformation under RB 2.0 and during a CEO transition,” Reckitt summed up.

Shares in Indivior (LON:INDV), which was wholly spun off from Reckitt in 2014, also surged on Thursday, albeit for different reasons.

It raised its outlook for both revenue and earnings this year – thanks to a strong performance by Suboxone film.

Indivior’s shares, which had lost over 90% in the last year as its legal problems in the U.S. became clear, rose over 35% initially, but trimmed those gains to trade 27% higher by mid-morning.

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