Rentokil said that it had boosted profit 5.4 per cent across the full year thanks to huge growth in its hygiene business amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Across the year, ongoing operating profit rose to £383.8m, up from £365.5m the year before. Revenue also increased 5.0 per cent to £2.8bn.
Despite the impressive performance, shares in the firm fell 1.9 per cent this morning.
The Camberley-based ratcatchers said that revenue from its hygiene division rose 36 per cent across the year, offsetting declines from temporary business closures.
During the height of the first lockdown, the firm reported a 62 per cent hike in the division’s revenue during the second quarter.
Revenue from disinfection services alone hit £225.1m, with the second half providing around four-fifths of the full year take.
Elsewhere, Rentokil said that it had beaten forecasts for revenue in its North American business.
It also continued its acquisition spree, snapping up 23 firms over the year despite the second quarter shutdown.
The FTSE 100 firm said it had set aside another £400m to spend on further purchases over the coming year.
On the back of today’s results, Rentokil said that it would pay a dividend of 5.41p.
Chief executive Andy Ransom said: “In an extraordinary year, we have demonstrated the inherent strength of our business, growing revenue, profit and cash.
“We have shown great agility by launching new disinfection services in 60 countries to address a critical need for customers, accelerated the international expansion of our Hygiene business and have acquired 23 high quality businesses to build density, particularly in our key North America Pest Control market.
“2021 will be a year of transition as we cross the bridge from the worst of the crisis in 2020 to, hopefully, a post-pandemic 2022.
“Thanks to the significant and swift actions we took in 2020, we are strongly positioned for the coming year, and expect to see further progress from our core Pest Control, Hygiene and Protect & Enhance categories.”