LONDON, March 15 Support services firm Rentokil
Initial Plc (RTO.L) announced a rebranding of its tropical
plants rental business on Thursday and said it would expand into
new services, such as scenting hotels with coffee smells.
Jeff Mariola, managing director of the business, which is
being renamed Ambius, said the expansion was part of the British
company's drive to boost revenues and profits and to bolster the
global reach of the new brand.
But analysts at Seymour Pierce said the move could be a
precursor to the sale of the business, which they estimate could
fetch up to 85 million pounds ($165 million).
Rentokil has been selling off underperforming businesses,
such as its guarding units and Initial Style Conferences while
the electronic security unit is up for sale, to focus on core
operations including biggest unit Textiles & Washrooms Services.
"As far as the profitability of the business in 2007, we are
confident that you will see year-on-year improvement in every
area that we are working in," Jeff Mariola, managing director of
Ambius, told Reuters.
Rentokil, best known for its pest control business, said the
the name change would allow development of a global brand and to
sell services to customers that want a one-stop shop for an
increased number of services.
Ambius, which has 80,000 customers in 16 countries, raised
revenues by 4.1 percent in 2006 to 106.6 million pounds ($206
million) and Mariola said the group would look to earn more from
each customer by offering them more.
He said Ambius would market "ambient scenting", recently
introduced in the U.S., which allows customers to scent rooms --
such as coffee smells in hotels -- as well as other services
such as office landscaping and fresh fruit delivery.
Mariola said plants are seen as way for human resource
departments to create a more pleasant working environment for
staff, with studies showing a good ambiance cut staff turnover
and absenteeism, while improving a company's green credentials.
"In some countries that are now scoring for green building
measurements plants are included on the scorecard because plants
regulate humidity, they clean the air," Mariola said.
Shares in Rentokil, which have lagged the UK support
services sector .FTASX2790 by 12 percent over the last 12
months, were up 1.9 percent at 150-1/2 pence by 1400 GMT,
valuing the group at around 2.7 billion pounds.