Bumper year at consumer care unit helps boost Croda results

SPECIALITY chemicals group Croda posted a jump in pre-tax profit over the full year, boosted by a bumper performance from its consumer care division.

Pre-tax profit at Croda, which counts Procter & Gamble and Unilever among its customers, rose by 6.6 per cent to £253.2m over the 12 months, on sales 2.3 per cent higher at £1.05bn.

Operating profit from its consumer care division – which makes chemicals for personal and home care products – rose to £185.4m, up 8.3 per cent year on year.

Two personal care acquisitions last year – plant stem cell biotechnology firm IRB and Innovachem LLC – strengthened the division, Croda said.

The FTSE 100-listed firm added yesterday that acquisitions will form an important part of its growth going forward.

Its performance technologies unit posted profits of £59.7m over the year, up eight per cent.

The full-year numbers were boosted by strong fourth quarter returns, with underlying sales growth of 5.7 per cent – the best seen over the year.

As a result, Croda hiked its dividend 8.2 per cent to 59.5p.