- Rentokil said it had had a "good start" to 2019 across all its businesses as first-quarter ongoing revenue increased 8.9%, supported in particular by strong growth in its Pest Control sector in both the growth and emerging markets.

Ongoing revenue in the sector grew 12% with growth and emerging markets rising 12.1% and 11.5%, respectively.

Hygiene saw ongoing revenue growth of 7.2%.

"We have had a good start to 2019 and I'm pleased with our performance in the first three months of this year. I am confident of another year of successful growth for the company, in line with market expectations," said Chief Executive Andy Ransom.

Further, the company said it had signed eight acquisitions in Q1, four in Pest Control (primarily in North America and Latin America) and four in Hygiene, with combined annualised revenues of approximately £29m in the year prior to purchase.

It said it was "encouraged" about its prospects for further M&A this year and that its pipeline of value-enhancing opportunities was strong. Its guidance for M&A spend in 2019 remained in the range of £200m to £250m.

With regards to the full 'buy-out' of its UK pension scheme, which was expected to complete in early 2020, the company said it was making good progress and that it now anticipated a pre-tax cash surplus of around £40m would be returned to the company on completion.

At 8:03am: [LON:RTO] Rentokil Initial PLC share price was -0.8p at 367.3p

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