Feb 24, 2021

Reckitt Benckiser cleans up during pandemic hygiene boom

2020 was a record year for Reckitt Benckiser as the maker of Dettol bleach rolled out cleaning products into new markets to capitalise on booming demand in the pandemic. Sales rose 11.8 per cent on a like-for-like net basis last year to £14bn, the strongest figure since the group was formed through a merger in 1999. Weaker profit margins meant a 2 per cent year-on-year decline in adjusted operating profit of £3.3bn but this was in line with market expectations. Reckitt guided for sales growth of 0 to 2 per cent in 2021 - slightly ahead of the analysts' consensus forecast for a 0.4 per cent decline - as business-to-business sales growth helps keep demand steady. The lender posted a statutory profit before tax of £1.2bn, down 72 per cent versus 2019 but above the £905m consensus expectation.

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