Bloomberg News

Reckitt Benckiser’s Durex to Give Free Condoms to Olympians

February 15, 2012

(Updates with analyst’s comment in third paragraph.)

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc’s Durex brand will provide free condoms along with information about safe sex to athletes at this year’s London Olympics.

Durex will be available at three accommodation centers -- the main village in Stratford, the sailing center on England’s south coast, and the rowing area west of London, Fran Edwards, a spokeswoman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said in an interview. She declined to say how many condoms would be provided. Stratford will house 23,000 athletes and officials, according to the London 2012 website.

“It makes perfect sense to ensure young Olympians are fully prepared for all aspects of their athletic activities,” Michelle Strutton, an analyst at market researcher Mintel International in London, said by e-mail.

Durex, the world’s top-selling brand in its field, supplied 130,000 condoms to athletes at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, according to brand spokeswoman Vanessa Munnings. China gave away 80,000 condoms during the 2008 Beijing games, the official Xinhua News Agency has reported. At the 2000 Sydney games, supplies ran low and an additional 20,000 were ordered.

U.K. bookmaker Ladbrokes Plc offers odds of 7-2 against the London Olympic Village running out of condoms, meaning a winning 2-pound ($3.16) bet would return 7 pounds plus the stake.

“I suspect it won’t be material in terms of sales, but the kudos would be positive,” Martin Deboo, an analyst at Investec Securities in London, said of the Olympics supply agreement.

Reckitt Benckiser, which acquired Durex maker SSL International in 2010 for 2.5 billion pounds, isn’t an official sponsor of the London games, which start July 27. SSL emerged from a series of mergers and its roots date back to 1915, when the London Rubber Company started selling imported condoms.

Reckitt Benckiser fell 0.5 percent to 3,525 pence at 11:42 a.m. in London trading.

--Editors: Paul Jarvis, Tom Mulier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Boyle in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sara Marley at

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