Wednesday 24 February 2021 8:15 am

Dettol-maker reaps benefits of hygiene kick as revenue soars

Reckitt Benckiser has emerged strongly from the pandemic with like-for-like revenue leaping 11.8 per cent to £14bn in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Full year operating profit hit more than £2.1bn compared to a loss of almost £2bn in 2019.

The consumer-goods company, which owns Dettol, Harpic and Calgon, reported a 19.5 per cent like-for-like rise in net revenue for its hygiene products in 2020.

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Laxman Narasimhan, CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, praised the company’s resilience throughout the year.

“In 2020 we successfully navigated unchartered waters,” he said.

“Our purpose, to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner and healthier world is more relevant than ever.

“We expect 2021 to be a year of further strategic progress and we remain confident that we will meet our medium-term targets.”

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Out with the old, in with the new

The UK company has agreed to sell Scholl footcare to Yellow Wood Partners, representing the biggest clear out at Reckitt Benckiser since Narasimhan took over in late 2019.

The group has also agreed to acquire the Biofreeze brand from Performance Health for an undisclosed amount.

Francis X. Dirksmeier, CEO of Performance Health, said: “There isn’t a better fit for Biofreeze than RB. The acquisition is based on growth and building value.

“As a global fast-moving consumer goods company with a leading portfolio of health, hygiene and nutrition brands, RB will be able to expand the brand’s terrific track record of growth as part of a global consumer products leader.”

Reaction

Sophie Lund-Yates, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, believes the pandemic has created a structural growth opportunity for Reckitt Benckiser.

“Brands like Lysol and Finish have been flying off the shelves, as did Durex products when social distancing rules relaxed in the second half,” she said.

“Heightened hygiene awareness is here to stay, and that should make for recurring revenues.”

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