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Cussons eyes improvements after 12% of profits washed away

Revenue from continuing operations was down 3.1% to £293.3mln in the first half

PZ Cussons -

PZ Cussons PLC’s (LON:PZC) underlying profits fell 12% in the past half-year as the soap and shower gel maker sales were hit by consumer uncertainty in the UK and the tough Nigerian economy.

Revenue from continuing operations of £293.3mln was squeezed out in the six months to 30 November, down 3.1% on the same period a year earlier.

READ: PZ Cussons warns on profits, boss leaves after 13 years

Adjusted profit before tax from continuing operations fell to £28mln, while reported PBT was up 34% to £34.7mln.

Net debt was cut to £136.2mln from £177.2mln and the dividend was held at 2.67p per share.

The FTSE 250 company, where on Friday chief executive Alex Kanellis will makes his exit after 26 years at the company, said it expected a stronger second half profit, as long as there is no further worsening of the economic and trading environments across its key regions.

Cussons anticipates a “return to stability” in the UK on the back of a recovery in hand wash, while improved marketing is seen as the key to improve US beauty revenues and regain stability in Africa and Australia.

With plans to appoint Kanellis’s successor “well advanced”, chair Caroline Silver highlighted that despite the challenges in most of its markets, the performance of its ‘focus brands’ such as Imperial Leather, Carex, Original Source, St Tropez, Sanctuary, Morning Fresh and Cussons Baby were “stable overall” compared to the prior year. 

“We have started to restructure our portfolio of activities, disposing of our business in Greece and agreeing the sale of our Polish brand. Further portfolio reshaping is underway and initiatives to improve our operating efficiency are being implemented at pace.”

Quick facts: PZ Cussons

Price: 184 GBX

LSE:PZC
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £788.85 m
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