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Reckitt Benckiser first half revenues up as pandemic bounce continues

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Reckitt Benckiser brands (REUTERS)
Reckitt Benckiser brands (REUTERS)

Reckitt Benckiser the global FMCG business home to brands including cleaning products Dettol and Cillit Bang has posted an 8.6% leap in first half revenue to £6.9 billion as people adjust to the fact that the coronavirus outbreak has become part of everyday life.

The business said it had introduced cost cutting measures of £370 million that had helped it become a “stronger, more resilient business” during the first half of the year.

It added that its products that were “less sensitive to the impact” of the coronavirus pandemic had also delivered double-digit growth in “extremely challenging circumstances”.

Reckitt Benckiser said it had driven sustained, broad-based revenue growth and market share momentum across its product range in extraordinary conditions including inflationary pressures and supply chain failures for businesses.

“We have built a stronger, more resilient business around our portfolio of trusted brands in growth categories. Despite challenging conditions, we are confident about the rest of the year, we are already delivering sustainable mid-single digit net revenue growth,”said Laxman Narasimhan boss of the business.

The company’s nutrition division, which includes leading baby formula brand Enfamil has also boosted revenues by up to 40% so far this year and Narasimhan told an audience on a company update call this morning that Reckitt was currently “feeding about half of all infants in the US, ” as the world’s leading superpower has been struck by supply problems that have directly impacted infant feed products.

“We’ve clearly seen the supply situation help us with regard to overall market share,” he added.

“We will see some normalisation as a competitor comes back online, but we have a business with a brand that’s the number one recommended.”

Baby formula competitors to the business include Abbott Nutrition and Nestlé.

It said that its core disinfection brands have been performing as expected and well above pre-pandemic levels and that sales in its health portfolio, which also includes Nurofen painkillers  and Mucinex cold medicine, had leaped 24.2% as consumers become more conscious of their own health and wellbeing after the challenges presented since the pandemic outbreak in early 2020.

Leading disinfectant Dettol had sustained revenue growth of 40% against pre-pandemic levels during the second quarter. However, sister brand Lysol was down by around 30% from Covid peaks as some retailers had chosen to not re-order stock.

Shares in the group bounced 4.6% to 6,668 pence in early trading.

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