Reckitt Benckiser confirms review of food business
Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser has confirmed it is beginning a strategic review of its food business, which could lead to it being sold off.
Reckitt said it was considering “all options” for the unit, which includes French’s mustard and sauce products.
The Sunday Times reported that the company was mulling a sale to help fund its takeover of US baby food maker, Mead Johnson, for $16.6bn (£13.2bn).
Reckitt products include Cillit Bang cleaning goods and painkiller Nurofen.
Reckitt said French’s Food was a “truly fantastic business with great brands”, but was non-core.
“We have therefore decided to initiate a strategic review of food where we will explore all options.”
Shares in Reckitt rose 11p to £72.97 in morning trading and are up 9% over the past 12 months.
The food division, which had sales worth more than £400m last year, could be worth about £2.4bn.
On Friday, Reckitt said it would cut the pay of chief executive Rakesh Kapoor to £14.6m from £25.5m in 2015.
Earlier this year, some shareholders had suggested that Mr Kapoor had pursued the Mead Johnson tie-up to ensure he hit lucrative bonus targets.
Mr Kapoor said the deal was in line with company strategy and would generate £200m of cost savings after three years – although it would not generate a return for about five years.