Sales: $13.0 billion
Key Personnel: Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive officer; Amedeo Fasano, executive vice president, supply; Roberto Funari, executive vice president, category development; Rob De Groot, area executive vice president, ENA; Adrian Hennah, chief financial officer; Frederic Larmuseau, area executive vice president, developing markets; Darrell Stein, senior vice president information services; Deb Yates, senior vice president, global 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: Health—Amopé foot care; Home—Vanish Gold, Air Wick Life Scents, Air Wick Pur, Air Wick scented oil warmer; Hygiene—Dettol Squeezy hand wash, Scholl Velvet Smooth Wet & Dry, K-Y (acquisition). Home—Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist, Finish Supercharged Powerball, and Harpic, Cillit Bang and Lysol Fresh Power 6.
Comments: Corporate sales were up 5%, driven by results in emerging markets such as India and China. At the same time, however, Brazil and parts of ASEAN were challenging, according to company executives.
Sales within the hygiene unit (41% of corporate sales) fell 3%. Sales of pest control products such as Mortein and SBP were mixed, as sales were strong in Brazil and Australia, but offset by weakness in India. Finish, too, turned in mixed results, as strong gains in the UK and emerging markets were offset by weakness in the US. Sales of Dettol and Harpic were up, helped along by the rollout of Dettol Squeezy hand wash and Harpic bathroom cleaner in India.
Health care accounted for 33% of sales. The unit posted a 10% increase in sales with exceptional results throughout Europe and North America, as well as number of developing markets. Reckitt Benckiser said all of its health powerbrands contributed to the growth. New products providing a lift included Amopé, a foot care line that was launched in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Sales of home care products (19%) fell 7%, due to negative exchange rates and a lack of big innovation. Helping somewhat was the second half rollout of Air Wick Pure and Wax Melts. Further hurting results was the weak laundry detergent and fabric softener market in southern Europe.
For Q1, 2016, RB’s corporate sales rose 4%. Health care sales increased 11%, hygiene sales improved 1% and home care sales were flat. By region, Europe and Australia/New Zealand posted good gains, but the US and Russia were impacted by anticipated retailer destocking. Among developing markets, RB reported continued strong growth in India and China, but Brazil results were down. Africa managed to post modest gains despite difficult macro conditions.
“We had a good start to the year despite continued challenging market conditions,” said CEO Rakesh Kapoor. “We are pleased to see growth across both developed and developing markets as we pursue our strategy of focusing on the health and hygiene powerbrands in our key powermarkets, supported by continued investment in innovation.”
In June, RB temporarily licensed K-Y lubricants in the UK to a British unit of Germany’s Stada. The move clears the way for Reckitt Benckiser’s purchase of the brand from J&J. In 2015, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the acquisition of K-Y by Reckitt, noting that it could reduce competition for personal lubricants, as the company already owns Durex. CMA required Reckitt to license the brand for eight years.
With a strong balance sheet and an eye for growth, RB is on the lookout for acquisitions. Last month, the company was said to be in the running for Perrigo, a private label OTC drug maker. Other companies said to be interested in the Irish company are P&G and J&J. For the full year, RB expects sales to rise 4-5%, with moderate margin expansion.