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04 Mar 2021 | 08:43

Rentokil cleans up on surging global hygiene product demand

(Sharecast News) - Pest control outfit Rentokil reported higher annual profits and resumed dividend payments driven by a strong performance demand for hygiene products during the coronavirus pandemic. The company on Thursday said operating profit rose 5.4% to £383.8m, with revenue up 5% to £2.8bn. Pre-tax profit fell 32% to £229.8m and a final dividend of 5.41p a share was declared.

Rentokil said revenue from its hygiene division rose 36% for the year to December 31 as demand for sanitisers and disinfection services surged, offsetting declines in washroom services due to lockdowns.

"As the world adopts increasingly high standards of hygiene, customer demand for soaps, hand drying products and sanitisers is rising significantly," Rentokil said.

However, chief executive Andy ransom said he expected volumes and prices to "significantly unwind as the year progresses and the crisis hopefully abates".

Sales of soap and sanitiser dispensers tripled to around 540,500 units, Rentokil said, with refills 17 times greater than in the prior year. Hand sanitiser revenues of £21m increased by just under £15m in 2020.

Revenue from disinfection services hit £225.1m, with £176.3m coming in the second half.

Ransom said 2021 "will be a year of transition as we cross the bridge from the worst of the crisis in 2020 to, hopefully, a post-pandemic 2022".

"Thanks to the significant and swift actions we took in 2020, we are strongly positioned for the coming year, and expect to see further progress from our core Pest Control, Hygiene and Protect & Enhance categories."
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