SSL International P.L.C. has expanded its Durex condom line and launched another synthetic ``gloving system'' as part of the company's 2002 corporate strategy to further develop its primary brand operations.
The company is adding three new products to the diverse condom group: Durex Performa, Durex Sensation and Durex Close Fit.
Based on extensive research data, a company official said, SSL developed the new offerings to give customers a greater variety to choose from and to expand the Durex brand range.
Durex is ``the world's favorite condom sold in 150 countries around the world,'' Marketing Director Jon Gray said. ``The new condoms will become increasingly available in global markets'' over the next several months, and ``will augment the existing product range and help drive sales growth.''
The company's strategy is to concentrate on its four main brands: Durex condoms, Regent latex and synthetic latex gloves, Scholl foot care goods and Hibi antiseptics, he said. ``New product development is a vital part of this strategy.''
That's why SSL's Regent Medical, Americas division, has come out with what it said is ``a new gloving system,'' called Biogel Skinsense N Universal, designed to work alone as a synthetic latex smooth-surface gloving option or as an underglove in a double-gloving application, according to a Regent Medical spokeswoman.
The new offering is aimed to fit with any Biogel Skinsense outer glove combination, she said.
But in reality, it fits ``as a double glove with any other type of latex or synthetic latex glove,'' if that's what the user prefers.
Biogel Skinsense N Universal is a non-latex alternative with the durability of latex, she maintained.
Its curved finger design provides a natural fit, and its patented Biogel coating makes the gloves easy to don with damp or dry hands, according to the company.
The firm uses a proprietary Neoprene-based manufacturing process for its synthetic latex, powder-free surgical gloves to eliminate the possibility of glove-related latex protein sensitization, said Virginia James, product manager for Regent Medical, Americas.
SSL plans on more synthetic offerings in the future, the spokeswoman said-``if not this year, then next year. There's more of a demand for non-latex than ever before.''
SSL's share of the synthetic segment of the U.S. market has grown to 29 percent from 15 percent, SSL Chairman Ian Martin said at the company's annual meeting, held July 16.
The firm's greater emphasis on its four primary brand units began more than a year ago when management determined it was SSL's best road to rapid growth.
The core brands received most of the company's product research and development expenditures in 2001 and that investment is being boosted further in 2002.
The firm's market development expenditure, which covers direct advertising and promotional costs, in 2001 rose to about $100 million from $87.6 million the previous year.
Its R&D expenditures increased to approximately $17 million from $13.5 million during that span.
Durex has been a top revenue segment for SSL during the last two years, the company said.
The operation's sales rose 4.6 percent to $186 million during the fiscal year ended March 31.
Surgical glove sales improved by more than 5 percent to about $123 million as Regent Medical's revenues in the U.S. grew by 8 percent.
Surgical glove sales in the United Kingdom, which were hurt by foreign imports, fell by 7 percent.