detergent and the launch of Magiclean Brightening Sheets, a
home cleaning product.
By region, sales in Japan increased 3.9% to more than
$7.5 billion. The company credited the increase to a rapid response to changing consumer lifestyles and social issues such
as the environment, health, aging and hygiene. In Asia, sales
rose 20.7% to more than $1.1 billion, as demand for consumer products rose among the growing middle class. In the
Americas, sales increased nearly 16% to about $672 million,
although half the gain was attributed to currency changes. In
this market, sales of skin care products rose during the year,
while sales of hair care products declined. Finally, in Europe,
sales increased 16.7% to more than $707 million, but again,
half the gain was attributed to forex moves. Cosmetic sales
rose and hair care sales declined during the year.
Unfortunately, the good news didn’t continue into 2015.
First quarter sales fell 3.6%. What’s worse, excluding the effects of currency translation, net sales would have decreased
5. Reckitt BenckiseR UNITED KINGDOM
SALES: $6.6 BILLION
Key Personnel: Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive officer; Adrian
Hennah, chief financial officer; Amedeo Fasano, executive vice
president, supply; Roberto Funari, executive vice president,
category development; Rob de Groot, area executive vice president, ENA; Frederic Larmuseau, area executive vice president,
developing markets; Darrell Stein, senior vice president, information systems; Deborah Yates, senior vice president, human
Major Products: Household and personal care products. Brands
include Vanish, Calgon, Woolite, Lysol, Dettol, Cillit Bang, Harpic,
Air Wick, Mortein, Dettol, Veet and Clearasil.
New Products: Finish Shine & Protect with Glass Protect Action,
Dettol proFresh Body Wash, Veet Spawax, Mortein Activ Card, Air
Wick Life Scents, Vanish Gold and Gold for Whites.
Comments: Clean is the focus at RB these days, as the company spun off its pharma unit to focus on personal health
(such as OTC products) hygiene and home care. But currency
fluctuations forced corporate sales down 4% to nearly $10.8
billion. Sales of hygiene products, dropped 5% to $4.4 billion
and home care sales fell 8% to $2.2 billion.
On a like-for-like basis, hygiene sales rose 3% and accounted for 43% of corporate sales. RB points out it is the No.
1 player in the global surface care category with leading positions across disinfectant cleaners, multipurpose cleaners, lavatory care and specialty cleaners. Lysol is the No. 1 brand in
North America and Dettol is the No. 1 brand outside North
Sales of home care products, which accounted for 21% of
sales, rose 1% like-for-like. Calgon is the No. 1 water softener
brand, Woolite is No. 2 in garment care and Air Wick is No. 2 in
air care. RB calls Vanish,“the undisputed world leader in fabric
treatment;” whatever that means.
In December, RB demerged its pharmaceutical business to
focus on being a global leader in the health, hygiene and home
categories. The pharma business, now known as Indivior,
trades on the London Stock Exchange as an independent
Earlier this year, RB launched Project Supercharge, a program designed to restructure operations and prune costs to
deal with slowing sales across markets. This will include less
travel by executives, manufacturing rationalization and even
reduced use of office stationery. The company expects Project
Supercharge will drive margin expansion and cost savings of
Kao is making a concerted effort to grow in the Middle East with products
such as Jergens Hand & Foot cream.