Reckitt Benckiser’s half-year results get plenty of traction in the papers today, with The Financial Timeswriting that targets have been ‘challenged’ at the consumer goods firm as the effects of the cyber attack linger. The Durex and Dettol maker said operations had still not returned to normal everywhere after a cyber attack last month that affected dozens of companies, as the household products group reported a rise in first-half profits but a fall in underlying revenues. Lombard says in The Financial Times that Reckitt is to focus on margin after “eye-watering” mustard sale and that dividend shows confidence even if sales growth causes squinting. The Telegraph adds Reckitt has downgraded its full-year revenue growth target from 3% to 2% in the wake of the ‘crippling’ cyber attack.
Reckitt Benckiser has taken a £318m provision to cover the costs of a potential US investigation related to allegations that its pharmaceuticals business, which was spun off in 2014 and is now known as Indivior, broke antitrust laws by trying to keep generic versions off the market, The Times reports. The Times analyses the first half for Reckitt and writes: “The heady days of April last year, when Rakesh Kapoor almost doubled his annual pay package to £23m as Reckitt Benckiser basked in a bumper set of sales figures, seemed a distant memory yesterday.”
The Financial Times also looks at the challenges ahead for Reckitt CEO Rakesh Kapoor. “Fresh from dealing with the aftermath of a crippling cyber attack, Kapoor is now facing a more fundamental challenge as he seeks to turn round Mead Johnson, its $18bn acquisition.”
The latest results from McColl’s are also in focus, with The Telegraph leading with the c-store group’s plans to retender the £2bn Nisa supply deal, which would be a blow to the planned Sainsbury’s takeover. McColl’s has emerged as the unlikely kingmaker in Sainsbury’s swoop on Nisa, as the 1,300-store group provides almost two-fifths of Nisa’s revenues through a five-year supply deal set to expire next year. The Times says the Co-op delivered “a convenient” bonus to McColl’s as sales grew in the first half after a boost from its acquisition of 300 Co-op stores.
The Times follows up the speculative story in sister paper The Sunday Times on rumours of an imminent Asda takeover of B&M. The Times notes that B&M remained tight lipped and did not release a response. It also adds that shares only rose 5% at B&M, suggesting the City was not convinced a deal would happen.
Of all the effects of Brexit, shrinking chocolate bars is not among them, according to a report by the Office for National Statistics. The Financial Times reports that the ONS revealed that the phenomenon of “shrinkflation” — when a product shrinks while the price stays the same — has not become more widespread since last June’s vote. The Guardian takes the opposite angle and says in its headline: “Shrinking sweets? ‘You’re not imagining it,’ ONS tells shoppers”. A grand total of 2,529 products – from chocolate bars, cartons of drink, toilet rolls and countless other products – tracked by the Office for National Statistics have decreased in size over the past five years. Only 614 have got bigger.
Brexit is to push up the cost of sausages as UK wholesale pork and beef prices soared over the last year as a result of the weak pound and a surge in export demand (The Guardian).
Tesco has become the first retailer to offer same day grocery delivery across the UK, ahead of a planned challenge from Amazon (The Telegraph). Service will cover more than 99% of UK households, says supermarket as fears grow over Amazon’s foray into groceries market (The Guardian).
Quorn generates more column inches yesterday after announcing a £150m investment in its UK factory and revealed booming growth in the first half of 2017. The Financial Times writes that the rise of “flexitarian” or partially meat-free diets is spurring a growth in sales at the British food group.
America’s largest independent spirits company Heaven Hills Brands has snapped up the Carolans and Irish Mist brands from rival Campari in the seller’s largest ever disposal (The Telegraph).
The Financial Times carries a report on how the JBS scandal is affecting the local Brazilian markets. The paper writes that ranchers and medium-sized meat processors are sharpening their knives to attack JBS’s market dominance now that it is being forced to sell assets to deleverage and pay hefty corruption fines.