Rentokil Initial goes on spending spree

Rentokil Initial is to spend millions on acquisitions this year following a boost from buying sprees during the first quarter.

Rentokil Initial reported a 9 per cent increase in ongoing revenue to 604m

The group reported an 9 per cent increase in ongoing revenue to £604m.

The growth was 4 per cent organic and 4.9 per cent came from acquisitions.

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Ongoing revenue in Pest Control rose 12 per cent, while hygiene posted ongoing revenue growth of 7 per cent.

Chief executive Andy Ransom said: "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."

The company signed eight acquisitions during the period, with combined annual revenues of £29m in the year prior to purchase.

Four were in Pest Control (primarily in North America and Latin America) and four in Hygiene.

The firm's guidance for mergers and acquisitions spend in 2019 remains in the range of £200m to £250m.

Rentokil's aggressive buying spree has brought it to the attention of competition authorities on more than one occasion.

Earlier this month, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that Rentokil's takeover of Mitie's pest control unit could restrict choice and lead to higher prices for customers.

It was also ordered to sell contracts earlier this year in order to secure a merger with Cannon Hygiene.