Despite the destructive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and livelihoods, the catastrophe has a silver lining for consumer health and hygiene product businesses.
Reckitt Benckiser, Bangladesh – a subsidiary of the world's leading producer of hygiene products – reported record quarterly sales growth owing to the novel coronavirus disinfectant boom.
Amid the 66-day nationwide shutdown from March 26, the company posted a 45 percent growth in sales in the second quarter of this year.
It predicted a stronger than expected performance in 2020 as customers stocked up on Lysol disinfectant and Dettol soap ahead of the novel coronavirus lockdowns, said a company insider.
"The boom in demand has come as the company had been battling intense competition in the health and hygiene industry. Our business is more resilient now than it was a few months ago," the official said, adding Reckitt Benckiser is quickly adjusting to a world where personal hygiene has become more important than ever.
"The company wants to develop its online business, introduce more products and increase quantities of its popular hygiene brands such as Lysol and Dettol."
In the April-June period, the company's sales increased to Tk138.41 crore. Its net profit also hit 53 percent growth to Tk15.81 crore and earnings per share stood at Tk33.47 in the quarter.
In the first quarter, the company's sales increased by 16 percent to Tk120.15 crore.
The second quarter was even better than expected with increasing use of Reckitt's products, said an equity analyst.
In the first half of this year, the company posted 29 percent growth in revenue to reach Tk258.57 crore and net profit also increased by 54 percent to Tk27.17 crore. The earnings per share stood at Tk57.51.
Last year, Reckitt Benckiser's net profit achieved a record 87 percent growth with Tk61.93 crore, and its earnings per share (EPS) were Tk131.06.
The company has paid 1,250 percent cash dividend to its shareholders for the financial year 2019.
This means the investors got Tk125 for each share. This is also the highest dividend payment of the company since it was listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) in 1987.
Among all listed companies on the stock exchange, Reckitt's shares are the most valuable at present.
The closing price of the company's each share was Tk3,573.70 on the DSE on Monday.
Of the total shares of the company: Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC holds 82.96 percent, the Bangladesh government 3.77 percent, institutional investors 3.49 percent, foreign investors 3.01 percent, and general investors 6.77 percent.