£100m Reckitt site to go ahead despite cost cuts

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Reckitt Benckiser, the company behind antiseptic Dettol and sore throat lozenges Strepsils, said its latest cost saving initiative will have no impact on plans for a new £100m research and development site that will bring jobs to Hull.

The firm said the three-storey, state-of-the-art facility is “definitely going ahead” and any job losses will have no impact on Hull.

The group said the cost savings could result in job cuts although it declined to say how many people could be affected.

Reckitt said that the new Centre for Scientific Excellence will safeguard jobs for the existing 1,200 employees at its Hull operations and will create up to 100 new roles.

Its plan for Hull is the largest single investment the business has made to date and is being supported by a £6m grant from the UK Government Regional Growth Fund.

Reckitt has plans to combine operations in Russia and the former Soviet countries with its Europe and North America business and combine Latin America and Asia with the Middle East and Africa.

The company’s new programme, dubbed Supercharge, aims to deliver between £100m and £150m in annual savings by 2017.

Chief executive Rakesh Kapoor said the programme will look at everything from how employees travel and communicate to how they buy stationary. Mr Kapoor said he will now fly economy class for flights under six hours. The group expects the project to incur ​£​200​m of costs.

Annual results revealed that sales of health products rose eight per cent, led by the Scholl footcare business. Annual adjusted operating profits rose two per cent to £2.18bn. Reckitt is targeting like-for-like revenue growth of four per cent this year.