Reckitt Benckiser to clean out its brands

Anglo-Dutch cleaning products group Reckitt Benckiser has announced plans to dispose of 75 brands in an effort to create accelerated growth during 2000.

No decision has yet been made on which brands will be ditched. However, the company has begun rolling out new products under existing brand names, including Mortein and Airwick. It plans to develop further items in the future.

A spokesman for Reckitt Benckiser says: “There is no timescale for the sale of the 75 brands. If an appropriate offer is received at an appropriate time, we will consider it. There is no point saying we want to sell something by a certain date because we may not get the best price.”

Existing brands include Calgon, Vanish, Dettol and Lemsip, while Harpic has been highlighted by chief executive officer Bart Becht as having been neglected. “Harpic is just about hanging on, but it is not gone in consumers’ minds. The brand is like a plant without water and we must water and nurture it or it will die.”

Becht says the company has investigated e-commerce opportunities, but is not completely convinced about the benefits for Reckitt Benckiser.

“We are looking at e-procurement and business-to-business strategies,” he explains. “We are also looking at how customers use portals, but we don’t think selling our products over the Web will be a major opportunity.”

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