Hygiene Products Power Sales at Unilever, Rentokil, Reckitt Benckiser Amid Pandemic
--Unilever, Rentokil Initial and Reckitt Benckiser reported
improved third-quarter sales this week
--The progress was driven by higher demand for disinfectants and
--Analysts believe the pandemic will lead to a longer-term
change in consumption patterns
By Matteo Castia
FTSE 100 companies Unilever PLC, Rentokil Initial PLC and
Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC reported higher third-quarter sales
this week, as a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic boosted
demand for disinfectants and other hygiene products.
Unilever, which owns consumer brands such as Ben & Jerry's
ice cream, Dove soap and Cif and Domestos cleaning products, said
Thursday that its quarterly underlying sales rose 4.4%
year-on-year. However, the Anglo-Dutch company's turnover fell 2.4%
to 12.9 billion euros ($15.3 billion) due to a hit from currency
"Unilever has enjoyed a generally strong quarter, still driven
by a pandemic-related boost in sales of home and hygiene products,"
Interactive Investor analyst Richard Hunter said. Beauty and
personal care remained the largest contributor to Unilever's
turnover in the third quarter.
Also on Thursday, pest-control, hygiene and workwear services
provider Rentokil Initial said continuing revenue---one of its
preferred metrics, which shows the performance of continuing
operations, including acquisitions and stripping the effect of
disposed or closed businesses--rose by 5.5% to GBP754.6 million in
the third quarter.
The company said sales growth was driven by its hygiene
business, which grew 54% year-on-year, and disinfection revenue,
which rose 53% on the year to GBP74.6 million.
"General attitudes to hygiene have now altered globally and the
likelihood is that this new awareness is now here to stay,"
Interactive Investor's Mr. Hunter said.
On Tuesday, consumer-goods giant Reckitt Benckiser raised its
full-year net revenue guidance to low double-digit percentage
growth on the back of a 6.6% revenue increase in the third
This performance was also driven by hygiene concerns among
consumers. Hygiene was Reckitt Benckiser's fastest-growing segment,
with sales rising 13% year-on-year to GBP1.49 billion.
The company's fastest-growing region was North America, where
sales rose 19% on the year, led by strong performance of its Lysol
"Our pursuit of cleanliness during the pandemic has been hugely
beneficial for the group and the signs are that the crisis is
leading to a longer-term behavior shift, with consumers demanding
reassurance that workplaces, shops and public transport are
germ-free," Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter said.
Write to Matteo Castia at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 22, 2020 04:19 ET (08:19 GMT)
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