GUJARAT: Reckitt Benckiser is to continue its push into worldwide consumer healthcare with the $724 million (€547m; £460m) purchase of India's Paras Pharmaceuticals.

The world's largest manufacturer of household cleaners is targeting the potentially large returns offered by the health and personal care sector at a time when sales of its household brands such as Dettol are seeing more sluggish growth.

Bart Becht, Reckitt's ceo, said: "The acquisition of Paras is another step forward in [our] growth strategy in consumer healthcare.

"It creates a material health care business in India, one of the most promising health care markets in the world, with the addition of a number of strong and leading brands."

Based in Ahmedabad in the western Indian state of Gujarat, Paras owns brands including BoroSoft moisturizing skin cream, Zatak deodorant, Itch Guard anti-fungal cream and Set Wet, a hair gel and deodorant brand.

Developing markets, which include India, Latin America, Africa, Middle East and Asia, already account for around one fifth of Reckitt's revenue.

But this is significantly less than the 37% of group sales represented by Unilever's Asia and Africa division or Procter & Gamble's equally buoyant Latin America and north-east Asia units.

Data sourced from Bloomberg/Hindustan Times; additional content by Warc staff