Reckitt Benckiser has taken a £5bn impairment on the acquisition of baby formula maker Mead Johnson as its new chief executive seeks to draw a line under a period of underperformance (The Financial Times £). Reckitt Benckiser has taken a £5 billion writedown on its baby formula business just three years after buying it (The Times £). Reckitt Benckiser has cut £5bn off the value of its baby formula business Mead Johnson due to a drop in China’s birth rate, pushing it to a £3.7bn loss for 2019 (The Telegraph). Reckitt Benckiser has written off £5billion from the value of baby formula maker Mead Johnson, just three years after it bought the troubled business (The Daily Mail).

However, Reckitt has seen a surge in demand for disinfectant products Dettol and Lysol in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. The group said the virus had triggered a boost in online sales in China, while bricks-and-mortar based retailers were seeing demand fall as people stayed at home. (The Daly Mail)

“Reckitt’s £5bn baby-milk bath is only the start of the clean-up”, writes The FT’s Lombard column. “CEO Laxman Narasimhan told investors not to hope for a hockey stick or J-shaped recovery. There’s nothing jolly hockey sticks about RB.” (The Financial Times £)

The world’s largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev said it has lost about $285m of sales to the coronavirus outbreak this year, as widespread lockdown in China sharply cut into beer drinking (The Financial Times £). AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer and maker of Corona and Stella Artois, said first-quarter profits would fall by a tenth after coronavirus hit beer sales during Chinese New Year (The Telegraph). The world’s biggest brewer forecast its biggest fall in quarterly profits in more than a decade as coronavirus took the fizz out of its beer sales (The Times £)

AB InBev’s results on Wednesday underlined the pitfalls of a “buy and slash costs” strategy, writes The FT. As discovered by Kraft Heinz — similarly schooled by Brazilian investor 3G — that brutishly crude model needs more than low interest rates and a willingness to wield the axe to bring results. (The Financial Times £)

Marks & Spencer shares closed at their lowest level for 30 years as analysts and shoppers panned the retailer’s clothes. (The Times £)

A shopper has outwitted the cameras at Amazon’s first cashierless grocery store less than 24 hours after it opened in the e-commerce giant’s home city of Seattle. (The Telegraph)

Raising cigarette prices has boosted annual sales for British American Tobacco, easing the pressure from a regulatory clampdown on newer non-combustible products. (The Times £)

Ikea will start selling plant-based meatballs that have a carbon footprint 25 times less than that of the group’s classic pork-and-beef ones as the flat-pack retailer seeks to slash its emissions by testing ideas such as renting out or refurbishing its furniture. (The Financial Times £)

Nestlé and L’Oréal are among leading consumer groups that have told hundreds of thousands of staff to avoid travelling for business reasons as a precautionary response to the coronavirus. (The Times £)

Lord Rose of Monewden, chairman of online grocer Ocado, has scooped £1.68m by selling shares in the company. (The Telegraph)