(Alliance News) - Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC on Wednesday reported a strong start to 2024 for its Hygiene business, offsetting a significant decline in Nutrition and allowing the company to maintain its guidance for annual revenue and profit growth.

The Slough, England-based consumer goods maker also got some growth from its Health division. Shares were up 4.9% to 4,457.33 pence early Wednesday in London.

Reckitt reported 1.5% net revenue growth on a like-for-like basis in the first quarter of 2024 from a year before. This was composed of a 0.5% decline in volume that was more than offset by a 2.0% increase from pricing and sales mix.

Within this, the Hygiene business recorded the stand-out revenue performance, with 7.1% like-for-like growth, thanks to a 2.9% rise in volume and a 4.2% benefit from price and mix.

By contrast, the Nutrition division suffered a 9.9% decline in like-for-like net revenue, almost entirely the result of lower volume, which was down 9.4%. Reckitt said the lower Nutrition revenue was the result of temporary market share gains due to competitor supply issues falling away.

The Health division was more stable, with 1.0% like-for-like growth in the first quarter, thanks to a 1.1% benefit from price and mix.

"We have delivered a good first quarter," said Chief Executive Officer Kris Licht. "Following a period of price-led growth, we are now returning to a more balanced contribution from price, mix and volume. We grew volumes in many of our 'powerbrands' in the quarter, including Lysol, Dettol, Durex and Finish, as well as our non-seasonal [over-the-counter] portfolio."

Total net revenue was GBP3.74 billion, down 4.6% annually on an IFRS basis. Hygiene was the largest contributor and best performer, with net revenue of GBP1.61 billion, up 1.1%. Health contributed GBP1.54 billion, down 6.4%, and Nutrition GBP591 million, down 14%.

Reckitt said it is on track for its 2024 revenue and profit targets. These are for like-for-like net revenue growth of 2% to 4%, with adjusted operating profit growing ahead of net revenue growth. Net revenue growth will be led by mid-single-digit percentage growth for the Health and Hygiene businesses, the company said, offset by a mid- to high-single-digit decline for Nutrition. Growth will be second-half weighted, it said.

For 2023, Reckitt reported adjusted operating profit of GBP3.37 billion on net revenue of GBP15.61 billion.

By Tom Waite, Alliance News editor

Comments and questions to newsroom@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.