Reckitt - the Benckiser tag was dropped in 2021 - is the world #1 in household cleaning, with a huge portfolio of well-known brands ranging from surface and fabric cleaners Lysol, Dettol, Harpic, Calgon and Vanish to Finish automatic dishwasher tablets and Air Wick aircare. Virtually the only household care segment in which it doesn't have a major presence is laundry detergent, where it has avoided competition with traditional leaders such as P&G, Henkel and Unilever. Since 2005, though, RB has also developed - almost entirely from scratch - a leading position in OTC healthcare with a series of high-priced acquisitions. The first of these was the purchase of Boots' healthcare products portfolio, which includes brands such as Nurofen and Strepsils. It strengthened this business further by buying US company Adams Respiratory, makers of Mucinex, in 2007. A series of other such deals followed: SSL International (Durex, Scholl footcare outside the US, later sold), Indian marketer Paras Pharmaceuticals (local jewels including pain-relieving ointment Moov, analgesic Stopache, and cold remedy D'Cold), Schiff Vitamins (MegaRed, Move Free and Airborne) and also K-Y lubricants. In its biggest purchase to-date RB snapped up infant formula manufacturer Mead Johnson (Enfamil, Sustagen and others) in 2017 for $16.6bn. It continues to make smaller purchases to fill in gaps in its portfolio; for example of OTC pain relief cream and gel range BioFreeze in 2021. Yet the acquisition fever, and resulting waves of restructuring, prompted a gradual slowdown in profit growth, which was in turn partly offset by the sale of non-core brands, not least the ill-fitting French's mustard business, sold to McCormick for a whopping $4.2bn. RB now divides its portfolio into three divisions of Health (the OTC and healthcare products), Home Hygiene (cleaning and air care) and nutrition (Mead Johnson and the former Schiff Vitamins portfolio). There has been speculation that a full separation of Health/Nutrition and Home Hygiene may ultimately be on the cards. Former PepsiCo executive Laxman Narasimhan succeeded Rakesh Kapoor as CEO in 2019. Performance for 2020 was boosted by an upsurge in sales of hygiene products during the Covid pandemic. Revenues reached a record high of almost £14.0bn, with net income of £1.2bn. The Hygiene business contributed 42% of revenues (or £5.8bn), with 35% (or £4.9bn) from Health and the remaining 23% (or £3.3bn) from Nutrition. Private investment company JAB Holdings - JAB are the initials of the company's original founder Johann A Benckiser - is still the largest individual shareholder in Reckitt though its holding has reduced to a little under 9%.
Capsule checked 1st June 2021
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Who are the competitors of Reckitt Benckiser? Reckitt competes with a variety of different companies in different sectors, including SC Johnson, Church & Dwight, Clorox, Unilever, Henkel and P&G in several sectors, as well as Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline and others in healthcare. See Household Care Sector index for other companies
Historical profile information for Reckitt Benckiser
Adbrands Daily Update 7th Jun 2021: Reckitt has quit the infant nutrition business in China, selling a perpetual royalty-free license for its Mead Johnson and Enfa brands to investment firm Primavera Capital. The deal values the business at $2.2bn, but Reckitt will only earn around $1.3bn as a result of high transaction and tax costs. Even at that price, it will still take a £2.5bn loss on the sale. Reckitt's infant nutrition division in China has been under pressure for several years, and this was exacerbated last year by restrictions on trade between Hong Kong and the mainland. It will continue to operate its infant nutrition business in all other global markets.
Adbrands Daily Update 11th May 2021: "Your Body Hair, Your Choice". Reckitt's depilatory brand Veet has dipped a toe before into the realities of female body hair, but has always fought shy of really telling it how it is for fear of stirring up a backlash. A couple of more daring ads in the past were quietly withdrawn after awakening the decency trolls. However, any barriers about feminine hygiene that may still have existed in the public consciousness have been throughly dismantled by AMV BBDO's increasingly bold campaigns for Essity. This allows BETC the full glorious freedom to deliver this lovely, languid, honest film that asks the age-old question: To pluck or not to pluck. It's your choice, ladies.
Adbrands Daily Update 23rd Mar 2021: Farewell, Reckitt Benckiser; hello plain Reckitt. The household, hygiene and healthcare group unveiled another dramatic rebrand in which the old Benckiser name is finally consigned to the dustbin. The new name also replaces earlier and largely unsuccessful attempts to recast the company as RB. "The name reflects the existing widespread usage of Reckitt and is clearer, simpler and more memorable, while retaining positive associations with the company's heritage," said SVP corporate affairs Miguel Veiga-Pestana. Havas-owned Conran Design Group handled the rebranding.
Adbrands Daily Update 11th Jul 2019: Reckitt Benckiser agreed to pay up to $1.4bn to settle allegations of fraudulent marketing by a former subsidiary which marketed anti-addiction drug Suboxone. RB owned the business until 2014, when it was spun off as Indivior. It is one of several companies that are being targeted by US regulators seeking to get the US opioid crisis under control. The Department of Justice and the FTC claim that Indivior, while it was still owned by RB, made unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy of its product, designed to wean addicts off heroin, in order to boost sales. It also sought to connect addicts with doctors who it knew to be "prescribing opioids at high rates and in a clinically unwarranted manner". RB denies any allegations of unlawful conduct but agreed to settle in an attempt to draw a line under the case. Indivior itself already faces separate charges and potential fines of as much as $3bn.
Adbrands Social Media 19th Jun 2019: "Cricket Ball / Coaster". "Put that thing down! You don't know where it's been!" Now owned by Reckitt Benckiser, Pine O Cleen is an Australian icon that has been keeping Ozzie homes clean since 1939. Host/Havas goes for a complete gross-out with two funny new spots that remind you just where that thing you picked up in the park or the pub might have been before you added it to your collection. Yuck!
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