Reckitt Benckiser is the world #1 in household cleaning, with a huge portfolio of well-known brands ranging from cleaning products 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 detergents, where it has avoided competition with traditional leaders such as P&G, Henkel and Unilever. Since 2005, though, the company 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), 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. Yet the acquisition fever, and resulting waves of restructuring, have prompted a gradual slowdown in profit growth, which has in turn been 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 two divisions of Health (the OTC and healthcare products) and Home Hygiene (cleaning and air care), and there has been speculation that a full separation of the two businesses may ultimately be on the cards. Former PepsiCo executive Laxman Narasimhan succeeded Rakesh Kapoor as CEO in 2019. Group revenues for 2018 were £12.4bn, with net income of £2.2bn. The Health business contributed 62% of revenues and two-thirds of operating profits. Private investment company JAB Holdings - JAB are the initials of the company's original founder Joh A Benckiser - is still the largest individual shareholder in RB though its holding has reduced to a little under 9%.
Capsule checked 14th October 2019
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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
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Historical profile information for Reckitt Benckiser
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!
Adbrands Daily Update 12th Jun 2019: Reckitt Benckiser has raided PepsiCo to find its new CEO. The US drinks and snacks group's current chief commercial officer Laxman Naasimhan will join RB next month as deputy CEO, and will take over the top job from Rakesh Kapoor in September. PepsiCo named Ram Krishnan, also CEO for Greater China, as Narasimhan's successor as new chief commercial officer.
Adbrands Social Media 28th May 2019: "Nature Is Speaking". Household and personal care companies like Reckitt Benckiser are currently among the most voracious users of plastic, especially for potentially hazardous liquids like bleach or cleaning products, that need to packaged safely. As a result, though, they're also among the forerunners in seeking environmentally friendly solutions to that problem. RB has pledged to make all its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. This new spot from Casual Films highlights the pervasive nature of plastic, not with the usual distressing images of suffering animals, but by showing how plastic is even stealing nature's voice. It's a clever idea, which also indirectly serves as a tribute to the arcane skill of the Foley artists whose job it is to replicate natural sounds for film and TV. It's scary just how convincing these artificial sounds can be!
Adbrands Daily Update 16th Jan 2019: Rakesh Kapoor will step down as CEO of Reckitt Benckiser by the end of 2019. He spent 30 years at the company, and the past eight as CEO. The board announced the launch of a formal search to choose his successor.
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