The maker of Dettol and Lysol, which hit headlines when Trump falsely said disinfectant injections could fight coronavirus, posted a huge surge in sales

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The maker of Dettol and Lysol, which hit headlines when Trump falsely said disinfectant injections could fight coronavirus, posted a huge surge in sales
A cake with figures of Dettol bottles and different shapes related to the coronavirus is displayed at a cake shop during the outbreak of Covid-19, in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, April 24, 2020.Alaa al-Marjani/ Reuters
  • Reckitt Benckiser, the consumer goods company that makes both Dettol and Lysol, saw revenues surge in the first quarter of 2020 as as customers stocked up on cleaning products, painkillers, and hand sanitizer.
  • Revenue for the UK based consumer-goods group rose 12.3% to £3.5 billion ($4 billion) in Q1, it said Thursday.
  • Reckitt saw "exceptional demand" levels in March and April, as the coronavirus compelled consumers to shop for more health and hygiene products online.
  • While consumers did face product shortages, Reckitt managed to control deficits by ramping up production with a "typical can-do attitude."
  • Both Lysol and Dettol hit headlines last week when US President Donald Trump suggested injecting disinfectant to help fight coronavirus.
  • Reckitt Benckiser then issued a statement telling people that this is a bad and extremely dangerous idea.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of disinfectants like Dettol and Lysol, said on Thursday that "exceptional demand" led to huge sales growth in the first quarter of 2020 as customers stocked up on cleaning products, painkillers, and hand sanitizer.

The UK-based producer of health, hygiene and home goods saw strong demand for its popular products including the antiseptic liquid Dettol, Lysol, Mucinex cough syrup and Nurofen pain relief tablets.

Revenue for the UK based consumer-goods group rose 12.3% to £3.5 billion ($4 billion) in the first quarter of 2020, even though consumers faced some product shortages. Reckitt responded to shortfalls with its "typical can-do attitude" and by ramping up production, the company said.

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"We are living in unprecedented times," chief executive Laxman Narasimhan said in a statement.

"Despite the significant pressures presented by COVID-19, our global teams have worked around the clock to ensure continuity of supply," he said.

Read more: Bank of America says an under-the-radar gauge of volatility is warning that the bear market is not over — and shares 2 cheap trades to protect against the next drop

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Online sales rose 50% driven by strong growth in both hygiene and health, particularly in March during the 'stay at home' period implemented to battle the coronavirus.

Revenue through ecommerce was particularly strong in Greater China, where sales of Dettol and infant milk formula rose, and in North America, that saw milk formula, cough syrup and mineral supplements doing well.

Consumer demand was especially high in March and April, but the chief executive said "the split between defensive buying and higher levels of underlying consumption is unclear", adding that it would be uncertain how quickly that would change in coming months.

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The maker of Dettol and Lysol, which hit headlines when Trump falsely said disinfectant injections could fight coronavirus, posted a huge surge in sales
U.S. President Trump hosts a coronavirus response roundtable discussion with industry executives at the White House in WashingtonReuters

Both Lysol and Dettol hit headlines last week when US President Donald Trump suggested disinfectant injections could help fight coronavirus. Reckitt Benckiser then issued a statement telling people that this is a terrible and extremely dangerous idea.

"We must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body," the statement said.

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The company's boost in sales was much better than consumer goods giant Unilever's first-quarter. The Anglo-Dutch giant saw sales virtually flat at the start of the year.

Reckitt's shares rose 3.9% in noon European trading.

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