Belfast Telegraph

Reckitt warns of permanent sales hit after cyber attack disrupts production

Household goods giant Reckitt Benckiser has warned of a permanent hit to sales after last month's massive worldwide cyber attack wrought havoc across its factories.

The Durex-to-Dettol firm said that, while the ransomware attack had now been largely contained, it is still working to resolve some issues more than a week after it first struck.

The group said around 2% would be wiped off like-for-like revenue growth in its second quarter after the attack significantly disrupted its manufacturing and orders systems across a raft of markets, including the UK.

It said some of its factories are still not back to normal operation.

The group expects some of the sales lost in the second quarter to be recouped in the current quarter, but warned that ongoing woes in its supply chain could see it lose some customers and orders permanently.

It said: "T he attack did disrupt the company's ability to manufacture and distribute products to customers in multiple markets across the RB Group.

"Consequently, we were unable to ship and invoice some orders to customers prior to the close of the quarter.

"Some of our factories are currently still not operating normally but plans are in place to return to full operation."

It added: "The continued production difficulties in some factories mean that we also expect to lose some further revenue permanently."

The group said the second-quarter sales blow meant it now expects full-year like-for-like revenues to grow by 2% against the 3% previously pencilled in.

It said that, stripping out the impact of the attack, it expects comparable sales to be flat in the second quarter.

It is one of many major firms affected by the attack last Tuesday, which swept from Ukraine to organisations across more than 60 countries.

British advertising and marketing group WPP was also hit, as well as other firms such as FedEx and Russia's state-owned oil group Rosneft.

The latest global attack - nicknamed Petya - came after the NHS suffered widespread disruption after being caught up in an international WannaCry ransomware incident in May.

Reckitt Benckiser said many of its factories run off the Windows system, which was impacted by the attack.

The group has operations in more than 60 countries, with headquarters in London, Dubai and Amsterdam.

It employs around 37,000 people worldwide.

Shares in FTSE 100-listed Reckitt fell 2% after the group's revenues warning.

Darren Shirley, analyst at Shore Capital, said while the cyber attack impact was a worry, the underlying sales picture was also disappointing.

He said: "Trading before the 'one-off' impacts remained weaker than we anticipated at flat year-on-year, we had anticipated a modest recovery to 1-2% growth in the period.

"It is sustained weakness in underlying sales that is of greater concern to us."

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