Top Companies Report

4. Reckitt Benckiser

August 1, 2014

United Kingdom
Sales: $9.5 billion

Key Personnel: Rakesh  Kapoor, chief executive officer; Heather Allen, executive vice president, category development; Amedeo Fasano, executive vice president, supply; Roberto Funari, executive vice president, Latin America and Asia-Pacific; Rob de Groot, vice president, Europe and North America; Adrian Hennah, chief financial officer; Gareth Hill, senior vice president, information services; Frederic Larmuseau, area executive vice president, Russia, Middle East and Africa; 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 and Clearasil.

New Products: Dettol Kitchen Gel, K-Y lubricants (acquisition).

Comments: Sales of hygiene and home care products totaled $9.5 billion. Corporate sales rose 7% to $16.4 billion. Company executives said that the gains were the result of the company’s continued focus on good health, a topic of great interest whether the audience is Millennials in the US, new parents in Indonesia or an old codger in the UK. With that in mind, Reckitt Benckiser offers a range of cleaners to keep homes clean and germ-free. In fact, among its PowerBrands; i.e., cleaners such as Dettol, Lysol, Harpic and Finish, led the way. The company notes that diarrhea is the No. 2 killer of children under five years of age—claiming 800,000 lives a year. The illness is preventable through better hygiene and RB’s goal is to radically reduce the global death rate by 2020.

Similarly, Reckitt Benckiser is focused on 16 “powermarkets”—countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China—where growth opportunities are greatest. In fact, RB operates two emerging market areas in Latin America/Asia Pacific and Russia, Middle East and Africa.

RB’s hygiene business represents 43% of sales and includes brands such as Cillit Bang, Clearasil, Dettol, Finish, Harpic, Lysol, Mortein and Veet. The company notes Dettol (known as Lysol in North America) is the No. 1 disinfectant cleaner in the world and that Finish is the No. 1 autodish detergent in the world. The company also holds No. 1 positions in overall surface care and depilatories. Last year, hygiene sales rose on the strength of Dettol/Lysol sales across all markets, due to the continued expansion and success of the Power & Free portfolio in Europe and North America and the continued success of the Lysol/Dettol hand wash foam in the US, Germany, Korea and China.

Home care accounts for 22% of sales, and includes such well-known brands as Air Wick (No. 2 global air care brand) and Vanish, the No. 1 fabric treatment. Last year, sales were up marginally, thanks to Vanish’s strong fourth quarter results.

In March, Reckitt Benckiser acquired the K-Y intimate lubricant business from McNeil, PPC, a unit of Johnson & Johnson. The brand had sales of more than $100 million in 2013. Later that month, on March 28, the company said it was in talks to acquire Merck’s consumer health care business, a unit that includes Coppertone sun care products. But two days later, RB said talks had ended. The business was ultimately sold to Bayer for $14 billion.

For the first quarter of 2014, RB’s sales declined 6% to $3.9 billion due to currency fluctuations. Hygiene and home care sales each fell 9% to $1.5 billion and $730 million, respectively.

“We have made a robust start to the year and net revenue growth is on track for our full year targets, which we reiterate,” said Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive officer, in a statement. “I’m particularly pleased with how our focus on consumer health is driving growth and outperformance, supported by larger innovation roll-outs.

Additionally, our recent agreement on the acquisition of KY will give us a stronger position in the sexual wellbeing category in key markets of the US and Brazil.”