Belfast Telegraph

Cyber attack hits sales at household goods giant Reckitt Benckiser

Household goods giant Reckitt Benckiser has laid bare the impact of a cyber attack that wrought havoc across its factories last month.

The Durex-to-Dettol firm confirmed like-for-like sales fell 2% in the second quarter after the ransomware attack significantly disrupted its manufacturing and orders systems across a raft of markets, including the UK.

Chief executive Rakesh Kapoor said: "From an operational perspective, as expected we had a tough first half, with challenging conditions exacerbated by a sophisticated cyber attack.

"We are experiencing tough market conditions, and we still have work to do on addressing the full implications of the recent cyber-attack."

Net revenue in the first half of the year, nudged up 2% at constant exchange rates to £5 billion, and adjusted operating profit rose 1% to £1.19 billion.

Pre-tax profit came in at £1.02 billion for the six months to June 30, up from £697 million.

Reckitt recently bought US baby formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition in a mammoth 21.2 billion US dollar (£16.3 billion) deal to expand its consumer health arm, and said on Monday that the integration is progressing well.

Last week, the firm confirmed a 4.2 billion US dollar (£3.2 billion) deal to sell food brands including French's mustard and Frank's hot sauces to the maker of Schwartz spices.

US group McCormick fought off a number of rival bidders to secure the British firm's food business in a move that will propel it to the number one position in America's condiments market.

Mr Kapoor added: "In the first half of the year, we have made significant progress on portfolio transformation and becoming a more focused consumer health and hygiene business, with both the acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition, and the agreed sale of our Food business."