Sales: $6.4 billion
Note: $6.4 billion hygiene and home care products. Corporate sales: $16.4 billion
Laxman Narasimhan, chief executive officer; Jeff Carr, chief financial officer; Zephanie Jordan, chief safety, quality, regulatory compliance officer; Kris Licht, president, health and chief customer officer; Sami Naffakh, chief supply officer; Aditya Sehgal, president, nutrition and president, e-RB and Greater China; Ranjay Radhakrishnan, chief human resources officer; Harold van den Broek, president, hygiene; Miguel Veiga-Pestana, senior vice president, corporate affairs and sustainability; Volker Kuhn, chief transformation officer
Household and personal care products. Brands include Vanish, Calgon, Woolite, Lysol, Dettol, Cillit Bang, Harpic, Air Wick, Mortein, Dettol, Veet and Clearasil
Finish Quantum Ultimate and Finish Eco, Air Wick i8, Harpic premium liquid, Lizol cement cleaner, Dettol Cool 2X, Dettol Disinfection spray (India and China), Air Wick Botanica and Air Wick Essential Mist Bluetooth, Lysol laundry sanitizer, Finish Quantum with ActivBlu technology and Finish Oxi Advance.
Comments: As a leading player in health and hygiene, Reckitt Benckiser has been front and center in the fight against COVID-19. In March, the US business launched a public health information campaign assessing and evaluating COVID-19 claims. The idea behind www.covid-19facts.com is to correct misinformation, challenge misperceptions and debunk common myths.
“As a company that exists to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world, we have a responsibility to counteract the myths and misinformation in the public domain,” explained Dr. Bruce Charlesworth, chief medical officer, health and hygiene. In related news, in the early days of the pandemic, RB donated more than $6.5 million worth of products and money to China. But the big news came last month when the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved two products to be effective against SARS-CoV-2: Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist.
“EPA is committed to identifying new tools and providing accurate and up-to-date information to help the American public protect themselves and their families from the novel coronavirus,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA’s review of products tested against this virus marks an important milestone in President Trump’s all-of-government approach to fighting the spread of COVID-19.”
Last year, corporate sales rose 2%, but hygiene and home care product sales increased 4.1%. In North America, Lysol had a strong second half and led growth in the region. Finish also delivered a good performance, but the gains were slightly offset by weakness in the Air Wick brand. In Europe, sales of Finish were up following the launch of Finish Quantum Ultimate and the eco product range.
Sales within developing markets rose due to broad-based growth across RB’s Powerbrands. Harpic got a lift from the introduction of premium liquid, as well as its ongoing campaign in India around toilets and water sanitation. Lizol sales rose following the launch of its cement surface cleaner. Vanish and Finish also delivered strong growth. RB noted that ecommerce sales continued to rise, contributing 4% to hygiene and home care product sales.
In Q1 2020, RB’s sales jumped 12.3%, as the company’s health and hygiene brands were in demand. Sales within the hygiene unit rose 10.9%, with double digit gains in North America, Europe/ANZ and Latin America. The health business posted sales gains of 13.1%, driven by strong demand for Dettol and Lysol. With stay-at-home orders in place in much of the world, e-commerce sales jumped more than 50%. As a result, the company expects better-than -expected 2020 results.
“We are living in unprecedented times. Our compass, purpose and fight have never been more relevant,” observed CEO Laxman Narasimhan. “As we announced in February, our purpose is to protect, heal and nurture in our relentless pursuit of a cleaner and healthier world.”
That’s certainly true, but RB has an aggressive launch schedule in 2020. New products include Dettol Cool 2X, which removes 99.9% of odor-causing germs, plus 2X activated menthol. Also new is Lysol laundry sanitizer and Finish Oxi Advance, which features an improved formulation with new benefits, including color protection, odor removal and stain removal—even in cold water.
This month, Volker Kuhn takes over as chief transformation officer, responsible for driving productivity, new business solutions, strategy and growth opportunities. Prior to joining RB, Kuhn spent 26 years at Procter & Gamble, where most recently he served as VP-fabric care, Europe and global platform lead for single dose detergents.