The company behind some of the U.S.’s best-known consumer brands took a pummeling from the so-called Petya ransomware virus.
U.K.-based Reckitt Benckiser, which makes everything from Lysol cleaning fluid to Scholl foot care goods and Mucinex cough mixture, cut its sales forecast for the whole of 2016 Thursday as it became one of the first companies to put a cost on a global cyber attack that disrupted its manufacturing and distribution.
Several major multinational companies, along with Russia’s biggest oil firm and Ukrainian banks, were hit by a virus on June 27 that crippled computers, disrupting ports from Mumbai to Los Angeles and halting production at factories.
Reckitt Benckiser said the attack had disrupted its ability to make and distribute products to customers in multiple markets, hitting its global supply chain. It said some of factories were still not operating normally, a full week after the attack. While some of the lost revenue from the second quarter will be made good in the current one, it warned that “continued production difficulties in some factories mean that we also expect to lose some further revenue permanently.”
“We expect an impact both on top line, through disruption to production, order handling and logistics, and margin, through the need to upgrade systems and recover data,” Investec analysts said.
In all, Reckitt said, like-for-like revenue in the second quarter would fall 2 percent from a year earlier because of the attack. It also trimmed its full-year sales growth forecast by 1 point to 2 percent.
Reckitt’s shares fell as much as 3.2 percent on Thursday to their lowest since May 19. They closed in London down 1.5 percent.
Reckitt’s shares have struggled recently with fears that it is losing its focus. Its $16.6 billion acquisition of baby formula maker Mead Johnson in February, in particular, has raised questions about its strategy.
Reckitt is only one of what could be a number of companies in the sphere of ‘fast moving consumer goods’ to suffer. German magazine Stern reported earlier that Germany’s Beiersdorf, the maker of Nivea skincare products, was also badly affected.