Sales: $7.9 billion for home and hygiene products. Corporate sales: $14.4 billion.
Key Personnel: Rakeesh Kapoor, chief executive officer; Rupert Bondy, senior vice president, general counsel/company secretary; Seth Cohen, chief information officer; Amedeo Fasano, chief supply officer; Rob de Groot, president, hygiene home; 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: Lysol laundry sanitizer, Wave ITB toilet bowl cleaner, Vanish White, Air Wick VIPoo, SiTi Shield, All-in-1 compact tablets, Finish (reformulation), Veja (relaunch).
Comments: To your health! It’s not a toast; it’s a game plan. RB’s June 2017 acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition underscores the company’s move toward the human health category. Now, RB’s businesses are split into two segments: consumer health and hygiene. As part of the reorganization, Rakesh Kapoor is president of the health business, as well as CEO of the Group. Rob de Groot, who has nearly 30 years of experience at RB, leads the hygiene home business unit.
The company calls the new alignment RB 2.0, and says it has five guiding principles:
- Frontline obsession: devolving responsibility to in-country teams, to serve consumers and customers better;
- Category focus and expertise; building out differentiated models to suit the needs of each category;
- Entrepreneurship and ownership; encouraging initiative and new ideas;
- Ready to disrupt; creating new categories, exploiting technology and new channels and developing new models; and
- Radical simplification; creating a more focused and agile organization.
By region, sales in Europe and North America (58% of sales) rose 4%. Results in North America were flat, but RB said Lysol saw robust growth, driven by the launch of a laundry sanitizer and toilet bowl cleaner. Russia posted double-digit gains due, in part, to the success of Finish dishwashing detergent. However, the rest of the region had a tough year due to the cyber attack and weakness in the Scholl franchise.
Sales in developing markets (28% of sales) rose 6%, but the company was expecting better results, due to the rising middle class. Growth was hindered by weakness in South Korea, where RB continues to face fallout over the sale of a humidifier disinfectant that killed about 100 people and left hundreds with lung damage. Political unrest in the Middle East hurt sales, especially in the second half and a challenging Brazil market remained in place. Still, the business did have successes, as China delivered strong double-digit growth thanks, in part, to the launch of a Finish formula specifically designed for tabletop dishwashers. South Africa and Turkey also turned in good gains.
The remaining percentage of sales is devoted to health care products.
By category, hygiene sales rose 6% due to broad-based gains, especially in emerging markets, where the introduction of SiTi Shield, billed as a protective ecosystem against pollution, debuted. Finish had a strong year, especially in the US with the introduction of the next-generation Quantum tablets. RB also gave a shout out to Veet and Harpic.
Home care sales increased 2%, due to forex effects. The company said Air Wick is under pressure in the US and Vanish had a tough year, due in large measure to retailer delisting in South Korea.
Despite the challenges, RB noted that several consumer megatrends bode well for the future:
- People are living longer, putting an emphasis on health, wellness and wellbeing;
- Incomes are rising, with the middle class expected to reach 4.2 billion by 2022;
- People are proactive about health—self-care is the new frontier of healthcare;
- Lives are busier than ever—so consumers see easily accessible OTC products and effective hygiene and personal grooming products; and
- A connected world generates more data—leading to tailored offerings and increased engagement.
For the first quarter, sales soared 23% due to the acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition. Hygiene home sales rose 4% on a like-for-like basis, driven by a combination of improved in-market execution, a seasonal boost for Lysol’s US sales and the successful introductions of Finish and Air Wick SKUs.