Dettol manufacturer continues to clean up as consumers focus on hygiene

Manufacturing giant Reckitt remains confident about its medium-term prospects as it continues to benefit from the global focus on hygiene and health.

The group owns Dettol and Lysol, which are still selling strongly as consumers see the products “as a way of protecting their health and regaining normality in their lives”, the company said. It is seeing shifts in demand as countries’ infection rates rise and ease, and making sure it can meet demand.

Reckitt, which has a big range of household brands including Durex, Nurofen, Scholl and Vanish, grew like-for-like revenues to £3.5bn in the first quarter of 2021.

The 4% growth was achieved even up against sales figures that covered the “pantry loading of March 2020”, chief executive Laxman Narasimhan said.

He added: “We see continued strong demand for our brands, better execution, and the benefits of our recent investments feeding through in the form of more focused innovation, increased capacity, and better customer service.

“There is still much to do, and the actions we are taking make Reckitt a stronger, more competitive, business with each day.”

Reckitt is forecasting like-for-like revenue growth of up to 2% for the calendar year, but with a reduced profit margin because of investments and rising costs.

It also expects to deliver “mid-single digit” revenue growth in the medium-term, and says it remains on track to achieve its accelerated growth targets it set last October.

The business last month announced it was rebranding from RB to Reckitt, to once again use the name of the Hull businessman who founded the business when Benjamin Disraeli was Prime Minister.

More than 140 years later, the group is one of the largest private sector employers in East Yorkshire.