- Pest control Group Rentokil Initial has reported it generated new revenues from disinfection services in the first half of 2020, although this failed to offset declines in revenue and profit as group operations faced major disruption from Covid-19.

The company announced first-half revenue from disinfection services of £49m and said ongoing revenue climbed 1% to £1.3bn despite the crisis.

A 9.4% decline in ongoing operating profit during the period reflected a £23m increase in bad debt provision and the additional costs of personal protective equipment.

Rentokil Initial reported operating profit was down 19.5% to £100.5m, while adjusted pre-tax profit decreased by 10.5% to £125.6m.

Pre-tax profit fell 45.2% to £61.8m in the first half.

The company said that 'decisive action on costs has contained profit reduction from lower revenues', while a tight focus on capex and working capital resulted in 'very good' free cash flow of £143.5m.

In pest control, saw 1% growth over the first half of 2020, while 10.5% growth in hygiene was as a result of strong global demand for hygiene products and disinfection services, which it said more than offset washrooms service declines from temporary business closures.

Chief executive Andy Ransom said: 'We have delivered an excellent performance in H1, keeping our essential services on the road for our customers who remained open during the pandemic.

'We also moved at pace to develop new revenues to offset service shortfalls, particularly in our hygiene business, and have taken decisive action on costs, with many of our people making personal sacrifices, and enabling us to contain the profit reduction on lower revenue in Q2.'

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