Reckitt CEO Rakesh Kapoor

Reckitt Benckiser revealed a healthy start to the year but the controversy over the huge pay packet of CEO Rakesh Kapoor is still making headlines.

The consumer goods company posted a 10% like-for-like increase in sales in its healthcare division to £786m, with total sales in the first quarter up 5% to £2.3bn (The Times). The Questor column in the Telegraph writes that Reckitt’s shares are “perfectly placed” to deliver capital returns and healthy dividend income for investors. “Reckitt is a company we would be happy to hold on to forever. The shares are by no means cheap, trading on 24 times forecast earnings, but that reflects their market position and track record. We expect some more deal making in the year ahead.”

But the stink about the £23m CEO Rakesh Kapoor was paid last year is still gaining column inches. Lombard in The Financial Times asks if Kapoor is worth the money considering the growth he is generating for Reckitt. The paper writes that shareholders should object, at strongly-performing companies as well as at laggards, if they have issue with the absolute amounts chief executives receive and the mechanisms delivering them. “Lombard is unconvinced by the view that high pay is a bad thing in itself. This muddles social worth and money as one might mix apples and pears. It is plain, however, that Mr Kapoor is heavily incentivised to shoot the lights out via the measure of three-year earnings per share.”

Pepsi reported solid organic growth of 3.5% in the first quarter, slightly lower than the 4% forecasts (The Financial Times).

Portuguese cash-and-carry tycoon Luís Amaral has claimed victory in his campaign to oust the chief executive of Stock Spirits Group after Chris Heath announced his early retirement from the Polish vodka maker (The Times).

Waitrose has hit back at claims that a decision to stop paying new workers overtime and Sunday rates was linked to the national living wage (The Independent).