Reckitt Benckiser has announced plans to spin off its pharma segment as it continues to hone its focus on consumer health and hygiene.

The move to de-merge RB Pharmaceuticals with a separate UK listing, which is expected occur within the next 12 months, is born from its belief that the division "has the potential to deliver significant long-term value creation as a stand-alone business".

The group may still decide to sell its pharma business and could retain a stake in the spinoff, finance chief Adrian Hennah said in an interview today, according to Bloomberg.

The announcement came as the company booked sales of 2.3 billion for the second quarter, marking growth (at constant exchange rates) of 3%. Taking pharmaceuticals out of the equation, however, like-for-like sales growth was up 4% for the period.

It seems investors are welcoming the split; shares on the London Stock Exchange had risen more than 3% by 0830 this morning.