FT sticks the boot into Reckitt Benckiser

Oxy protest
Protesters stamp on some of Reckitt Benckiser’s Korean products, which include the Oxy humidifier steriliser (photo: Yonhap. Source)

In an article subtitled “Multinational group’s corporate culture is out of step with the public mood” the FT today laid into Reckitt Benckiser for its management and presentation of its troubles in Korea.

It was dismaying to see an update mention the “HS Issue” in the same workaday tones as poor sales of the Wet & Dry Foot File. The phrase was code for the deaths of at least 73 Koreans who had used humidifier disinfectant produced by a subsidiary.

The FT went on to accuse the company of not showing enough contrition and speculates that the costs of the scandal will go far beyond the amount they have provided in the accounts.

As well as putting aside £300 million for the potential compensation of victims and their families, the company’s results were impacted by the consumer boycott in Korea. The group’s interim management statement [pdf download] has almost a page of dry statistics on the progress of the compensation process in Korea, but does not mention the boycott.

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