Durex Maker Expands in Eastern Europe

Business » FINANCE | March 6, 2009, Friday // 00:00

SSL International Plc, the manufacturer of Durex condoms, will boost its presence in eastern Europe just as the region's economic meltdown turns investors away, Chief Executive Officer Garry Watts announced, as cited by Bloomberg agency.

The U.K. maker of Durex and Contex brands plans to raise its stake in a unit that distributes contraceptives in Russia and nine other eastern European countries to 50 percent by April and expects to take full ownership by 2010, Watts said.

"Russian people aren't going to stop having sex any more than British people are," Watts, 52, said in an interview in London. "We're not immune from the downturn, but it's a bit like Pizza Hut: If you're not going out, then you might be willing to drop a five-pound vibrator ring into your trolley."

About 90 percent of newly reported HIV cases in Eastern Europe and Central Asia were in Russia and the Ukraine in 2006, according to a UNAIDS report.

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