Top Companies Report

3. Reckitt Benckiser

August 11, 2011

United Kingdom

www.rb.com


Sales: $13.0 billion


Key Personnel:

Bart Becht, chief executive officer; Freddy Caspers, executive vice president, developing markets; Liz Doherty, chief financial officer; Amedeo Fasano, executive vice president, supply; Rob de Groot, executive vice president, North America and Australia; Salvatore Calzzone, executive vice president, Europe; Gareth Hill, senior vice president, information services; Rakesh Kapoor, executive vice president, category development and CEO designate; Simon Nash, senior vice president, human resources.


Major Products:

Household and personal care products. Brands include Vanish, Calgon, Woolite, Lysol, Dettol, Cillit Bang, Harpic, Air Wick, Mortein, Dettol, Veet, Clearasil.


New Products:

Air Wick 100% natural propellant spray and Freshmatic Odor Detect, Harpic Max, Clearasil Ultra Acne + Marks, Resolve QuicknClean, Durex Play Massage 2 in 1, Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment and Hard Skin Removal System, Dettol No-Touch.


Comments:

A new era begins at Reckitt Benckiser next month when Rakesh Kapoor replaces Bart Becht as CEO. During his 16-year tenure, Becht turned RB from a plodding home cleaning marketer to a dynamic innovator that has rolled out a range of cleaning solutions such as the new Air Wick 100% natural propellant spray, a new range of aerosols propelled only by fresh air. Innovations like these have enabled RB to build a stable of 19 powerbrands that are sold in nearly 200 countries.


Kapoor, who joined the company in 1987, was appointed to the executive committee in 2006 to lead the global powerbrands strategy and innovation. Prior to that, he led the UK and Northern Europe business to their best financial performance ever. Despite these impressive credentials, Kapoor won’t have to go it alone. Becht will stay on with RB in an advisory role through 2012.


In any case, Becht leaves the company in good shape. Sales rose 9% last year. By region, sales in Europe (which accounted for 41% of sales) fell 1%. Gains came from health and personal care, home care and dishwashing, offset by weakness in laundry detergents. Sales in North America and Australia (27% of sales) rose 2%, helped along by the launch of Lysol No-Touch hand soap system and the Lysol surface care range, Air Wick Aqua Mist and Air Wick Ribbons and Quantum dishwashing formula. Sales in developing markets (22% of sales) rose 18%, with growth coming from all regions. Top performing brands included the Dettol personal care and surface care ranges, Veet, and Air Wick.


The excellent results actually accelerated in 2011, as first quarter sales rose 14% to $3.6 billion, driven by the continued success of Dettol No Touch and expansion into developing markets. Net income increased 2%. By region, sales in Europe rose 17%, sales in North America and Australia increased 5% and sales in developing market jumped 23%.


In another personnel move, in June, RB appointed Heather Allen as executive vice president, category development. She replaces Kapoor. Prior to this appointment, Allen was global category officer, germ protection.


“With net revenue growth of 15% and adjusted net income growth of 12% for the total Group in the quarter (both at constant exchange), these results position us well to achieve our FY 2011 financial targets of 12% net revenue growth and 10% adjusted net income growth (both at constant exchange), and with that to deliver another year of above industry-average growth,” asserted Becht.

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