PZ Cussons first-half profit rises on growth in Asia and the UK

 
City A.M. Reporter
PZ CUSSONS, the maker of Imperial Leather soaps, reported a 10 per cent rise in first-half profit as growth in the United Kingdom and Asia offset tough trading conditions at its key Nigerian market.

The soap and shampoo maker said performance of its UK washing and bathing division was robust and that its business in Australia had returned to profit.

The company said in July that retailers in Australia had devoted greater shelf space to private labels, hurting PZ Cussons’ volumes and margins in the home-care business.

Pre-tax profit rose to £44.1m during the six months to 30 November. Revenue was flat at £414.8m, hurt by trading conditions in Nigeria.

Unrelenting religious violence in the north, severe floods and weak consumer spending following the removal of a fuel subsidy in Nigeria prompted the company to warn on profit in 2012.

PZ Cussons generates about 45 per cent of its revenue from Africa, of which Nigeria is the largest contributor. Asia, which includes its business in Australia, accounts for about 20 per cent of revenue.

PZ Cussons raised its interim dividend to 2.35p per share from 2.23p a year earlier.