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Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
Rentokil Initial Plc LSE:RTO London Ordinary Share GB00B082RF11 ORD 1P
  Price Change % Change Share Price Bid Price Offer Price High Price Low Price Open Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  -0.20 -0.04% 467.50 467.30 467.60 470.90 459.20 467.30 3,076,449 16:35:15
Industry Sector Turnover (m) Profit (m) EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap (m)
Support Services 2,823.5 229.8 10.0 46.6 8,692

Rentokil Initial PLC Annual Financial Report

31/03/2021 10:33am

UK Regulatory (RNS & others)


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RNS Number : 1220U

Rentokil Initial PLC

31 March 2021

Rentokil Initial plc (the "Company")

Annual Report and Annual General Meeting

In compliance with Listing Rule 9.6.1, the Company announces that the following documents have today been submitted to the UK Listing Authority, and will shortly be available for inspection via the National Storage Mechanism at morningstar.co.uk/uk/NSM :

-- Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2020 (the Annual Report 2020);

   --    Notice of 2021 Annual General Meeting; and 
   --    Proxy Form for the 2021 Annual General Meeting. 

The documents will be posted today and the Annual Report 2020 and the Notice of 2021 Annual General Meeting have been published on the Company's website at rentokil-initial.com/investors .

The 2021 AGM will be held at, and be broadcast via live webcast from, the Company's offices at the Power Centre, A1 & A2, Link 10, Napier Way, Crawley, RH10 9RA at 2.00pm on Wednesday 12 May 2021. However, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the UK government's current guidance, which includes restrictions on public gatherings, the Board has concluded that it will unfortunately not be possible to allow shareholders to attend in person on the day. Shareholders are recommended to make use of the electronic facilities on offer to participate in the meeting remotely. In order to protect the health and well-being of our shareholders, Directors and employees, it is intended that the only people present at the physical meeting will be those required to form a quorate meeting and transact the formal business of the meeting.

The Company's preliminary results announcement on 4 March 2021 contained a condensed set of Rentokil Initial plc financial statements and information on important events that have occurred during the year ending 31 December 2020 and their impact on the financial statements. That information together with the information set out below which is extracted from the Annual Report 2020 constitute the requirements of DTR 6.3.5 which is to be communicated via an RIS in unedited full text. This announcement is not a substitute for reading the full Annual Report 2020. Page numbers and cross references in the text below refer to page numbers and cross references in the Annual Report 2020. To view the preliminary results announcement, visit the Company's website at rentokil-initial.com/investors .

Risks and uncertainties

The text in the table below, of the principal risks that the Company has identified, is extracted in full and unedited form from pages 69 to 73 of the Annual Report 2020.

 
 Failure to grow our business profitably in a changing macro-economic 
  environment 
  The Company's three businesses (Pest Control, Hygiene and Protect 
  & Enhance) operate in a global 
  macro-economic environment that is subject to uncertainty and 
  volatility. 
 Impact should the risk                                        Mitigating actions                                             C hanges 2020 versus 
 materialise                                                     *    Regular review of our capital allocation model which     2019 
 Changes in the macro-economic                                        is differentiated by line of business to ensure that      *    North America business now accounts for 44% of 
 environment could have                                               scarce resources are directed to countries and                 Ongoing Revenue at CER, up from 38% 
 a number of different                                                businesses with the most attractive prospects. 
 impacts on the ability 
 of the business to                                                                                                             *    Supply chain resilience 
 grow profitably,                                                *    Global Employer of Choice programme to ensure focus 
 to sustain recruitment                                               on the key priorities of the organisation, including 
 and to deliver against                                               recruiting and retaining critical talent in all           *    Additional service lines in the Hygiene business 
 targets.                                                             markets. 
 Examples include: 
  *    Recession and economic slowdown in some of our key                                                                       *    Biannual review of key financial controls 
       markets and a trend for government increases in           *    Working with governments and regulators on 
       minimum wage to exceed inflation may make it                   implementation of new regulations. 
       difficult to maintain profitability.                                                                                    Performance measures 
                                                                                                                               to monitor risk 
                                                                 *    Low-cost operating model, focused IT investment and       *    Group Ongoing Revenue growth, in total and by 
  *    Low-growth economies with inherent cost inflation,             route density incentives to deliver efficient                  category 
       where the Company has weak pricing power may make it           operations for frontline and back office colleagues. 
       difficult to maintain profitability. 
                                                                                                                                *    Group Organic Revenue growth, in total and by 
                                                                 *    International Key Accounts team developing business            category 
  *    Growing market presence of multinational competitors           with multinational customers to take advantage of the 
       may increase the cost of acquisitions and drive down           Company's unique global capabilities and new Hygiene 
       prices, impacting profitability.                               offerings.                                                *    Revenue contribution from acquisitions 
 
 
  *    Increased market presence by facilities management        *    Increased review and focus on financial performance       *    Group Ongoing Operating Profit 
       companies may drive down prices and increase                   and controls. 
       compliance costs. 
                                                                                                                                *    Group Net Operating Margin 
                                                                 *    Group Procurement team tasked to deliver economies of 
  *    Shift to greater proportion of key accounts in some            scale and increasingly source materials and 
       markets may drive down prices and make it difficult            operational equipment on a global basis.                  *    Free Cash Flow conversion 
       to maintain profitability. 
 
                                                                 *    Environmental action plan.                                *    Net capital expenditure 
  *    Political instability and civil unrest in some 
       markets may cause localised revenue reductions. 
 
 
  *    Legislation, regulation or society expectation limits 
       our 'licence to operate'. 
                                                              -------------------------------------------------------------  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 Failure to deliver consistently high levels of service to the 
  satisfaction of our customers 
  Our business model depends on servicing the needs of our customers 
  in line with internal high standards 
  and to levels agreed in contracts. 
 Impact should the risk                                        Mitigating actions                                                        Changes 2020 versus 
  materialise                                                    *    HR development processes, including Employer of                    2019 
  If our operatives are                                               Choice programme.                                                   *    77% increased in U+ learning 
  not sufficiently qualified, 
  or do not have the 
  right skills, or we                                            *    Regular tracking of customer satisfaction and the                   *    Refreshed and relaunched Technical Hub (Safe Working 
  fail to                                                             perception by both customers and non-customers of                        Practices) 
  innovate successfully,                                              Rentokil Initial, benchmarked against competitors. 
  this may negatively 
  impact our ability                                                                                                                      *    Continued deployment of IT programmes to frontline 
  to acquire or retain                                           *    Dedicated Operational Excellence team to drive                           colleagues 
  customers, adversely                                                superior customer service and safe working practices, 
  impacting growth,                                                   and to establish key metrics, combined with a strong 
  profitability and cash                                              focus on safety by supervisors and frontline staff.                 *    Quarterly IT Risk meeting 
  flow. 
 
  Industrial action in                                           *    Incentives for sales and service staff aligned 
  key operations could                                                closely with strategic priorities, based on                        Performance measures 
  result in diminished                                                delivering improved customer service levels.                       to monitor risk 
  customer service levels;                                                                                                                *    Sales and Service colleague retention 
  if prolonged, it could 
  damage the Company's                                           *    Oversight of key industrial relations matters by 
  reputation and ability                                              Group HR Director and regular review by the Chief                   *    The number of online training courses being developed 
  to secure or renew                                                  Executive for countries where industrial relations 
  contracts.                                                          risk is elevated. 
                                                                                                                                          *    U+ learning views 
  In markets where overall 
  employment rates are                                           *    Regular review of major IT programmes by the Chief 
  high, and/or our business                                           Information Officer and the introduction of a                       *    State of Service 
  is growing fast organically                                         quarterly IT risk meeting. 
  or via acquisition, 
  we may have difficulty                                                                                                                  *    Customer satisfaction (Customer Voice Counts) 
  attracting and retaining 
  key management of the 
  right capability and                                                                                                                    *    Customer retention 
  the right calibre of 
  operational personnel. 
 
  Major digital change 
  programmes could disrupt 
  our ability to deliver 
  high levels of service 
  to our customers. 
 
  Extreme weather could 
  cause disruption to 
  local operations and 
  may impact colleague 
  health and safety. 
                                                              -------------------------------------------------------------  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 Failure to develop products and services that are tailored and 
  relevant to local markets 
  and market conditions 
  We operate across markets that are at different stages in the 
  economic cycle, at varying stages of market 
  development and have different levels of market attractiveness. 
  We must be sufficiently agile to develop and deliver products 
  and services that meet local market needs. 
 Impact should the risk                                        Mitigating actions                                             Changes 2020 versus 
 materialise                                                     *    Acquisition of targets with specific capabilities        2019 
 If we are not able                                                   that address future changes in our markets.               *    Increased profile and importance of Hygiene category 
 to adapt to local business 
 and consumer needs, 
 our existing customers                                          *    Targeted investment in innovation to meet market and      *    Increased penetration of digital technologies on 
 may choose not to renew                                              regulatory needs and defend against commoditisation.           customer sites 
 contracts, or seek 
 reductions in prices. 
 This negatively impacts                                         *    Category Boards for Pest Control and Hygiene oversee      *    Growth in use of digital platforms by customers 
 our ability to maintain                                              the roll-out of innovations at pace across our 
 or increase margins                                                  regional businesses. 
 and cash flow.                                                                                                                 *    Demonstration of business model resilience in the 
                                                                                                                                     face of COVID-19 
 Examples include:                                               *    Continued investment in digital platforms to support 
  *    We must adapt to changes to the regulatory                     Sales and Service colleagues 
       environment that may ban certain products or service                                                                    Performance measures 
       models from being used, such as permanent rodent                                                                        to monitor risk 
       baiting.                                                                                                                 *    Sales growth for key innovations 
 
 
  *    We need to respond to the expectations from customers                                                                    *    Percentage of job sales revenue from innovation 
       and the wider populace for us to reduce our own 
       environmental impact and support our customers in 
       reducing their environmental impact.                                                                                     *    Number of patents raised 
 
 
  *    We need to develop products that are networked and                                                                       *    Number of sites with digital solutions 
       capable of being monitored in real time, or react to 
       competitor technology developments that are 
       disruptive to the market.                                                                                                *    Percentage of commercial customers registered for 
                                                                                                                                     digital platforms 
 
 
                                                                                                                                *    Percentage of colleagues utilising digital 
                                                                                                                                     applications 
                                                              -------------------------------------------------------------  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 Failure to ensure business continuity in case of a material 
  incident 
  The business needs to have resilience to ensure business can 
  continue if impacted by externally induced incidents, e.g. cyber 
  attack, hurricane or terrorism. 
 Impact should the risk                                        Mitigating actions                                                  Changes 2020 versus 
  materialise                                                    *    All countries and units maintain business continuity          2019 
  Failure to service                                                  plans, with local plans to service from alternative            *    Acceleration of multi-factor authentication for 
  our customers may affect                                            locations if required, and IT disaster recovery                     remote access 
  our ability to retain                                               plans. 
  those customers and 
  damage the Company's                                                                                                               *    Deployment of anti-ransomware software to the data 
  reputation. This may                                           *    The majority of key data and applications are located               centres 
  negatively impact growth,                                           in regional data centres with enhanced backup 
  profitability and cash                                              capability, and resilience and tools deployed to 
  flow.                                                               detect malicious behaviour and help prevent malicious          *    Additional colleague training and awareness 
  Examples of incidents                                               files from spreading. 
  that could impact our 
  ability to service 
  customers include:                                             *    Data encryption and implementation of AirWatch on             Performance measures 
   *    A significant cyber attack or IT failure which                laptops, tablets and mobile phones.                           to monitor risk 
        impacts our ability to plan efficient routing, or                                                                            *    Number of serious IT incidents and time taken to 
        ability to invoice, and is not recovered quickly.                                                                                 respond 
                                                                 *    Strong anti-phishing programme using phishing 
                                                                      simulation tool to highlight risks to users. 
   *    Fire or flood impacting our laundries (in Workwear)                                                                          *    Major Incident Review actions 
        or warehouses (in Hygiene and Pest Control), 
        preventing goods from being available to enable our      *    Annual penetration testing on all systems to test 
        technicians to service our customers.                         external firewalls and address any identified                  *    Actions arising from IT security 
                                                                      weaknesses. 
 
   *    Industrial action by employees                                                                                              self-assessments 
                                                                 *    Annual inspections of key sites by insurers, on a              *    External testing and benchmarking of our IT security 
                                                                      rotating basis, to identify potential risks.                        environment 
                                                              -------------------------------------------------------------  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 Failure to mitigate against financial market risks 
  Our business is exposed to foreign exchange risk, interest rate 
  risk, liquidity risk, counterparty risk 
  and settlement risk. 
 Impact should the risk                                        Mitigating actions                                                  Changes 2020 versus 
  materialise                                                    *    Financing policy in place to ensure that the Company          2019 
  If any of the above                                                 has sufficient financial headroom to finance                   *    Refinancing completed in 2020 
  risks materialise,                                                  operations and bolt-on acquisitions. Commitment to 
  this may have a negative                                            target credit rating of BBB. 
  impact on profitability,                                                                                                           *    Rolling 13-week cash forecasting 
  cash flow and financial 
  statements, and may                                            *    Treasury policies that limit the use of foreign 
  negatively impact financial                                         exchange and interest rate derivatives, set limits 
  ratios and credit ratings,                                          for financial counterparty exposure, govern how               Performance measures 
  impacting our ability                                               financing is raised in bank and other debt capital            to monitor risk 
  to raise funds                                                      markets and provide rules around treasury-related              *    Liquidity headroom at the year end of GBP1,089m 
  for acquisitions.                                                   matters at operating company level. 
 
                                                                                                                                     *    Counterparty ratings above A- 
                                                                 *    Monthly reporting and monitoring of financial 
                                                                      covenants and rating agency metrics and compliance 
                                                                      with treasury policies.                                        *    Monthly reporting against ratings metrics and 
                                                                                                                                          financial covenants 
 
                                                                 *    Monitoring of the impact of exchange rate movements 
                                                                      on non-GBP profits and net debt.                               *    No unhedged foreign exchange positions above GBP0.5m; 
                                                                                                                                          fixed interest >50%; and matching currency of net 
                                                                                                                                          debt to underlying profitability 
                                                                 *    Cash pooling and debt financing arrangement to match, 
                                                                      as far as possible, currency availability/demand 
                                                                      across borders.                                                *    Monitoring of amounts outstanding against 
                                                                                                                                          counterparty credit limits 
 
                                                                 *    Revolving credit facility (RCF) increased to GBP550m. 
 
 
                                                                 *    Refinancing completed in 2020. 
                                                              -------------------------------------------------------------  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 Fraud, financial crime and loss or unintended release of personal 
  data 
  Collusion between individuals, both internal and external, could 
  result in fraud if internal controls are not in place and working 
  effectively. The business holds personal data on employees, 
  some customers and suppliers: 
  unintended loss or release of such data may result in criminal 
  sanctions. 
 Impact should the risk                                        Mitigating actions                                             Changes 2020 versus 
  materialise                                                    *    Ongoing programme to ensure all businesses are           2019 
  Loss of personal data                                               compliant with data privacy requirements (GDPR in         *    Biannual review of key financial controls 
  of customers, suppliers                                             Europe and data protection legislation in other 
  or employees could,                                                 markets). 
  if significant, result                                                                                                        *    Inclusion of Corporate Criminal Offence policy in 
  in                                                                                                                                 annual Letter of Assurance 
  regulatory intervention                                        *    Mandatory online training by all senior employees for 
  which may result in                                                 the Code of Conduct, preventing anti-competitive 
  substantial fines and                                               practice, preventing bribery and corruption, securing    Performance measures 
  damage to the Company's                                             information and protecting privacy, avoiding             to monitor risk 
  reputation.                                                         conflicts of interest and preventing insider trading.     *    Completion rate for mandatory U+ training modules 
 
  Theft of Company assets 
  including property,                                            *    Roll-out of Corporate Criminal Offence policy and         *    Data privacy programme roll-out and implementation 
  customer or employee                                                training. 
  information, or misstatement 
  of financial or other                                                                                                         *    Speak Up investigations and remediation 
  records via deliberate                                         *    Compliance with Code of Conduct and other key 
  action by employees                                                 policies affirmed by the annual Letter of Assurance 
  or third parties may                                                by all senior management.                                 *    Key financial controls pass rates 
  constitute fraud and 
  result in financial 
  loss to the business,                                          *    Standardised financial control framework operating in 
  damage to the Company's                                             all locations. 
  reputation and/or fines 
  by regulators. 
                                                                 *    Confidential Speak Up hotline and email address, 
                                                                      monitored and followed up by Internal Audit. 
 
 
                                                                 *    Significant frauds investigated by Internal Audit and 
                                                                      lessons learned widely shared. 
 
 
                                                                 *    User security awareness guidance and policies 
                                                                      refreshed and reissued. 
 
 
                                                                 *    Updated policies on devices and the provision of 
                                                                      Citrix-only access combined with global patching 
                                                                      programmes, multi-factor authentication and 
                                                                      deployment of anti-ransomware to our data centres. 
                                                              -------------------------------------------------------------  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 Safety, health and the environment (SHE) 
  The Company has an obligation to ensure that colleagues, customers 
  and other stakeholders remain safe, that the working environment 
  is not detrimental to health and that we are aware of and minimise 
  any adverse impact on the environment. 
 Impact should the risk                                        Mitigating actions                                                  Changes 2020 versus 
  materialise                                                    *    Robust health and safety (H&S) policies supplemented          2019 
  The Company operates                                                by the SHE Golden Rules and technical policies                 *    New mandatory U+ module for Pink Notes 
  in hazardous                                                        address higher risk and regulated activities. 
  environments and situations, 
  for example:                                                                                                                       *    Extension of Pink Notes to cover all business 
   *    use of poisons and fumigants in Pest Control;            *    H&S officers appointed in all jurisdictions,                        categories 
                                                                      supported by a dedicated central team. 
 
   *    driving to and working at customers' premises;                                                                               *    Refreshed and relaunched Technical Hub (Safe Working 
                                                                 *    Mandatory training of all relevant employees in safe                Practices) 
                                                                      working practices. 
   *    working at height; and 
                                                                                                                                     *    Updated Internal Audit work plan for SHE 
                                                                 *    Focus on implementation of Group fumigation standards 
   *    exposure to needlestick injury/ bio-hazards from              in all new acquisitions. 
        medical waste. 
                                                                                                                                    Performance measures 
                                                                 *    H&S considered as the first item at all Board and             to monitor risk 
  Non-compliance with                                                 senior management meetings; review of standardised             *    Lost Time Accident rate 
  internal policies or                                                H&S KPIs. 
  industry regulations 
  could lead to personal                                                                                                             *    Working Days Lost rate 
  injury, substantial                                            *    Formal review of accidents and circulation of lessons 
  fines or penalties                                                  learned. 
  including withdrawal                                                                                                               *    Total emissions 
  of licences to operate, 
  and reputational damage.                                       *    Strategy to further develop environmentally friendly 
                                                                      approaches, e.g. lower pest control chemical use,              *    Energy usage 
  Environmental risks                                                 recycling of hygiene units, piloting use of electric 
  may arise from former                                               vehicles. 
  activities at sites                                                                                                                *    Compliance rates for mandatory U+ training 
  currently operated 
  by the Company or acquired 
  by the Company. 
                                                              -------------------------------------------------------------  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 Breaches of laws or regulations (including tax, competition 
  and anti-trust laws) 
  As a responsible company we aim to comply with all laws and 
  regulations that apply to our businesses across the globe. 
 Impact should the risk                                        Mitigating actions                                                  Changes 2020 versus 
  materialise                                                    *    Group Legal involvement in all acquisitions.                  2019 
  Failure to comply with                                                                                                             *    Internal Audit of UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 
  local laws covering 
  bribery and corruption,                                        *    Tax strategy re-issued and approved by the Board 
  anti-competitive practice,                                          annually.                                                      *    Review and presentation of all Internal Audit issues 
  employment law, data                                                                                                                    for 2019 and 2020 to senior leadership 
  privacy, health and 
  safety, or financial                                           *    All significant tax planning opportunities have to be 
  and tax reporting requirements                                      pre-agreed with the Group Tax Director and Chief 
  may result in fines                                                 Financial Officer with independent tax advice taken 
  or withdrawal of licence                                            where necessary. Regular review of tax exposures.             Performance measures 
  to operate, which could                                                                                                           to monitor risk 
  adversely impact growth,                                                                                                           *    Central monitoring of material litigation 
  profitability and cash                                         *    Authority schedule in place and regularly reviewed. 
  flow. 
                                                                                                                                     *    Tax provisions 
  The Company operates                                           *    Group and local policies in place and regularly 
  across many different                                               reviewed. 
  tax jurisdictions and                                                                                                              *    Completion rate for mandatory U+ training modules, 
  is subject to periodic                                                                                                                  e.g. Code of Conduct and competition law 
  tax                                                            *    Requirement to report breaches in controls and/or 
  audits which sometimes                                              laws to Group General Counsel and Head of Internal 
  challenge the basis                                                 Audit. Follow-up by Group General Counsel of any 
  on which local tax                                                  significant regulatory breach in any country. 
  has been calculated 
  and/or withheld. Successful 
  challenges by local                                            *    Mandatory training on Code of Conduct and other core 
  tax                                                                 compliance topics, to instil a highly principled 
  authorities may have                                                culture of ethical behaviour, completion rates 
  an adverse impact on                                                reported to senior management monthly. 
  profitability and cash 
  flow. 
                                                                 *    All major business transactions or internal 
                                                                      reorganisations are subject to a rigorous internal 
                                                                      and external review. 
                                                              -------------------------------------------------------------  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 Failure to integrate acquisitions and execute disposals from 
  continuing business 
  The Company has a strategy that includes growth by acquisition, 
  and has acquired 23 businesses in 2020. These companies need 
  to be integrated quickly and efficiently to minimise potential 
  impact on the acquired business and the existing business. 
 Impact should the risk                                        Mitigating actions                                                  Changes 2020 versus 
  materialise                                                   *    Integration plans considered by the Investment                 2019 
  If the Company fails                                               Committee as part of the acquisition approval                   *    Additional resources provided to the US to support 
  to successfully integrate                                          process. Integration activities and progress                         integration and replatforming 
  acquisitions into its                                              discussed during monthly performance reviews. 
  existing organisation 
  structures, fails to 
  deliver the revenue                                           *    Dedicated project teams established for largest                Performance measures 
  and profit targets,                                                acquisitions and demergers with clear deliverables             to monitor risk 
  or fails to deliver                                                over three months, six months and one year.                     *    Integration plans (30 days, 100 days, 1 year) 
  expected synergy savings, 
  the business may not 
  achieve the expected                                          *    Tried and tested induction programme for the first              *    Reviews of integration plans for specific large 
  financial and operational                                          100 days for all acquisitions.                                       acquisitions 
  benefits which may 
  adversely impact growth, 
  profitability and cash                                        *    Continuity of management/leadership in acquired                 *    Post-acquisition review completions 
  flow.                                                              companies, where possible. 
 
  Business disposals                                                                                                                 *    Post-investment review by the Board of aggregate 
  also have to be managed                                       *    Use of transaction structures including deferred                     performance of investment in M&A 
  efficiently to minimise                                            consideration to mitigate deal risk. 
  risk to the businesses 
  being disposed and 
  the residual business.                                        *    Group departments, e.g. health and safety, legal, 
                                                                     insurance and IT, involved with acquisitions to drive 
                                                                     integration plans and compliance with Group standards, 
                                                                     especially when entering new geographies. 
 
 
                                                                *    Post-completion governance: formal post-acquisition 
                                                                     review of every acquisition by Investment Committee 
                                                                     against original business plan within 18-24 months; 
                                                                     Board post-investment review of acquisitions in 
                                                                     aggregate every six months; Internal Audit review of 
                                                                     acquisitions in new geographies within 12-18 months. 
 
 
                                                                *    Board oversight of all acquisitions involving new 
                                                                     country entries or new business lines. 
                                                              -------------------------------------------------------------  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 

Statement of Directors' responsibilities

The Annual Report 2020, on pages 203 to 204, contains the following statement regarding responsibility for the financial statements and is repeated here solely for the purpose of complying with DTR 6.3.5. Responsibility is for the full Annual Report 2020 and not the extracted information presented in this announcement or the preliminary results announcement.

The Directors are responsible for preparing the Annual Report and the Group and Parent Company Financial Statements in accordance with applicable law and regulations. Company law requires the Directors to prepare Group and Parent Company Financial Statements for each financial year. Under that law they are required to prepare the Group Financial Statements in accordance with international accounting standards in conformity with the requirements of the Companies Act 2006 and applicable law and have elected to prepare the Parent Company Financial Statements in accordance with UK Accounting Standards, including FRS 101 Reduced Disclosure Framework. In addition, the Group Financial Statements are required under the UK Disclosure and Transparency Rules to be prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards adopted pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1606/2002 as it applies in the European Union (IFRSs as adopted by the EU).

Under company law, the Directors must not approve the Financial Statements unless they are satisfied that they give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Group and Parent Company and of their profit or loss for that period. In preparing each of the Group and Parent Company Financial Statements, the Directors are required to:

   --      select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently; 
   --      make judgements and estimates that are reasonable, relevant and reliable; 

-- for the Group Financial Statements, state whether they have been prepared in accordance with international accounting standards in conformity with the requirements of the Companies Act 2006 and International Financial Reporting Standards adopted pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1606/2002 as it applies in the European Union (IFRSs as adopted by the EU);

-- for the Parent Company Financial Statements, state whether applicable UK Accounting Standards have been followed, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the Parent Company Financial Statements;

-- assess the Group and Parent Company's ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern; and

-- use the going concern basis of accounting unless they either intend to liquidate the Group or the Parent Company or to cease operations, or have no realistic alternative but to do so.

The Directors are responsible for keeping adequate accounting records that are sufficient to show and explain the Parent Company's transactions and disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the Parent Company and enable them to ensure that its Financial Statements comply with the Companies Act 2006. They are responsible for such internal control as they determine is necessary to enable the preparation of Financial Statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and have general responsibility for taking such steps as are reasonably open to them to safeguard the assets of the Group and to prevent and detect fraud and other irregularities.

Under applicable law and regulations, the Directors are also responsible for preparing a Strategic Report, Directors' Report, Directors' Remuneration Report and Corporate Governance Statement that comply with that law and those regulations. The Directors are responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the corporate and financial information included on the Company's website. Legislation in the UK governing the preparation and dissemination of Financial Statements may differ from legislation in other jurisdictions.

Each of the Directors, whose names and functions are set out on pages 78 and 79, confirms that, to the best of their knowledge:

-- the Financial Statements, prepared in accordance with the applicable set of accounting standards, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss of the Company and the undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole; and

-- the Strategic Report and Directors' Report include a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the Company and the undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that they face.

Each Director considers the Annual Report and Financial Statements, taken as a whole, to be fair, balanced and understandable and to provide the information necessary for shareholders to assess the Group's position and performance, business model and strategy.

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