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PZ Cussons cleans up in the recession with strong sales

ORIGINAL Source shower gel maker PZ Cussons yesterday said it remains &ldquo;cautiously optimistic&rdquo; for the full year, after the group was boosted by strong sales of new product lines.<br /><br />The firm, which also owns the Charles Worthington and The Sanctuary brands, said profits across the group were up on the same period a year ago.<br /><br />The group reported a 16 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to &pound;88.8m for the year to May 31, boosted by a 27 per cent rise in revenues.<br /><br />&ldquo;Overall, we remain cautiously optimistic for the full year outturn despite the global economic picture remaining uncertain,&rdquo; it said in a statement.<br /><br />The company &shy;&shy;&ndash; which operates mainly in Britain, Nigeria, Australia and Indonesia &ndash; said its performance in Nigeria in the four months to 4 October had been strong, thanks to a more stable political environment and economic growth.<br /><br />The firm also said new product launches helped its British business deliver strong growth and that its other units had performed well during the period.<br /><br />PZ Cussons also enjoyed a surge in sales earlier in the year as health-conscious consumers rushed to buy the group&rsquo;s antibacterial hand gel in a bid to avoid the swine flu pandemic.<br /><br />The firm moved back to a net cash position at the end of the last financial year and said cash generation during the current financial year remained strong with a continuing focus on minimising working capital levels across the business.