Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser (RB) has revealed that soaring demand for disinfectants pushed it to record growth in 2020.
The Dettol and Lysol manufacturer said like-for-like revenues surged by 11.8% to £14 billion as its health and hygiene division was strengthened by the pandemic.
Hygiene sales rose by almost a fifth as its Airborne immunity supplement brand saw sales more than double as customers became more health-conscious.
However, it told investors on Wednesday that it expects like-for-like sales growth to slow down to between 0% and 2% in 2021.
Laxman Narasimhan, chief executive officer of the group, said 2020 was a “turning point” for RB.
“In 2020 we successfully navigated uncharted waters,” he added.
“Our performance is strong, we are building capability, actively managing our portfolio and transforming our culture.
“We expect 2021 to be a year of further strategic progress and we remain confident that we will meet our medium-term targets.”
The Slough-based company also revealed plans to sell off its Scholl footcare business to private equity company Yellow Wood Partners.
RB also launched strategic review of its infant formula business in China, as its infant child nutrition arm was downgraded as a result of Covid-19 disruption.
Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Reckitt’s getting its house in order with a spring clean.
“Like other consumer giants, Reckitt’s biggest challenge is positioning itself as a more focused and agile beast.
“While Scholl has a strong brand, it’s a bit of an anomaly when you look at the wider picture – the shoe just doesn’t fit.”
Shares in the company were 0.7% higher at 6,011.5p on Wednesday morning.