- Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser swung to a first-half loss after its revenue fell and it wrote down the value of Chinese infant formula assets that it is selling.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through June amounted to £1.94 billion, compared to a year-on-year profit of £1.44 billion.

Revenue fell 8.2% to £3.09 billion and by 1.3% in constant currency terms and 1.0% on a like-for-like basis.

Adjusted operating profit fell 16% to £1.42 billion, or by 9.6% on a constant currency basis.

Reckitt Benckiser held its interim dividend steady at 73p per share.

'Against a challenging environment, I am encouraged by the progress we have made in the first half of the year,' chief executive Laxman Narasimhan said.

'Around 70% of our revenue, excluding IFCN China, is from brands growing by mid-single digits in the period, in line with our strategic vision.'

'The remaining 30% includes our disinfection brands, which are structurally rebasing, as well as our cold and flu brands, which are now starting to show positive momentum.'

'Cost inflation accelerated in the second quarter and it will take time to offset this headwind with productivity and pricing actions being implemented in the back half of the year and early next year.'

Consequently, Narasimhan said the company was guiding for its adjusted operating margin for the full year to be between 22.7% and 23.2%, or 40-to-90 basis points lower than the 23.6% reported for the full year 2020.

'We are encouraged by the progress we have made to strengthen the foundations of the business and reposition ourselves for sustainable growth,' Narasimhan said.

'We expect to exit 2022 with a revenue growth run rate in the mid-single digits as we make our way towards our medium-term adjusted operating profit margin target in the mid-20s by the mid-20s.'

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