Sales: $6.4 billion for hygiene home products. Corporate sales: $16.8 billion.
Key Personnel: Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive officer; Rupert Bondy, senior vice president, general counsel and company secretary; Seth Cohen, chief information officer; Rob de Groot, president, hygiene home; Machiel Duijser, chief supply officer; Adrian Hennah, chief financial officer; Gurveen Singh, chief human resources officer.
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: Harpic Swachh Bharat (Clean India), Finish In-Wash dishwasher cleaner tabs, SBP Repellent Pro spray, Air Wick seasonal fragrances, Lysol Daily Cleanser and Daily Cleansing Wipes.
Comments: Corporate sales rose 3% last year, helped along by gains in developing markets. RB notes that at the beginning of the decade, developing markets accounted for just 25% of sales; in 2018, that percentage climbed to 40%.
The Hygiene Home business was revamped last year to focus exclusively on the household sector. This improved focus helped the business speed up innovation, create more opportunities to invest in its brands and sharpen its go-to-market focus, according to RB.
The hygiene home business benefitted from strong key brand performances in developing markets, led by gains in Brazil and India, RB’s two largest developing markets. Brazil got a lift from major brands such as SBP (pest control), Veja (surface care) and Vanish, while in India, Harpic sales rose on the strength of new Swachh Bharat and social awareness programs.
Still, developed markets accounted for 75% of sales last year. Good results in North America were offset by weakness in Europe, which was due to significant pricing pressure in the first half of 2018. In fact, net revenue declined 1% last year to $5.7 billion.
The hygiene home business is focused on sales and profits, of course, but company executives insist that strong purpose-led brands that fight social causes with innovative solutions give RB great penetration potential in high-margin categories. Other priorities include exploiting digital platforms to unlock emerging markets; focusing on low-penetration, higher-growth categories; expanding e-business opportunities and continued investing.
North America got a lift from a strong year from Lysol, while Finish, Air Wick and Vanish all delivered good growth behind innovative new products like Finish Quantum Ultimate Clean & Shine and Air Wick Essential Mist diffuser.
For the first quarter of 2019, corporate sales rose 1%, as declines in North America and Europe were offset by gains in developing markets. Hygiene home care sales increased 2% thanks to strong performances from Vanish, Harpic and Finish, which were slightly offset by weakness in Air Wick and Lysol.
CEO Rakesh Kapoor will retire at the end of the year. A successor has not been named. Kapoor is credited with transforming RB from a household cleaning business to a leader in consumer health and hygiene.