PZ Cussons posts profits in line with forecasts

Consumer products giant PZ Cussons posted on Tuesday a rise in profits in line with market expectations.

Consumer products giant PZ Cussons posted on Tuesday a rise in profits in line with market expectations.

The company, which owns Original Source shampoo, Morning Fresh washing up liquid and Imperial Leather soap, reported a 9.7% increase in profits before tax of £44.1m for the six months to November.

The results met forecasts by Panmure Gordon Research which last week said the company would be driven by strong recovery in Asia while affected by social unrest in Nigeria's north.

"Closely watched will be the commentary on Nigeria, and while we believe that violence in the north has continued, it appears that fuel subsidies have remained unchanged, avoiding the national strikes that crippled the country last January," Panmure said.

Revenues for the period were flat with a modest 0.02% climb to £414.8m with business boosted by European and Asian sales offset by tough trading conditions in Nigeria.

The group also returned to profitability in Australia after implementing business improvement measures.

Operating profit grew 13% to £45.3m, following strong performance in Australia and the UK. The nterim dividend was raised 5.4% to 2.35p per share reflecting confidence in the future.

"Our overall performance since the period end has been in line with expectations," Chairman Richard Harvey said.

"Whilst trading conditions in most markets are challenging we remain confident of a return to profitable growth for the full year, with the range of potential outcomes being largely dependent on trading in our largest market Nigeria during its peak season over the coming months."

The group's annual profits for 2011/12 more than halved after it was hit by exceptional charges worth £43.8m and difficult trading conditions in Nigeria and Australia.

RD

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