PZ Cussons hit by Nigeria and Australia woes

Kasmira Jefford
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SOAPMAKER PZ Cussons yesterday reported a sharp fall in full-year profits after shouldering higher raw material costs and suffering worsening trading conditions in Nigeria and Australia.

The owner of Imperial Leather soap and St Tropez fake tan said profit before tax fell by 55 per cent to £48.5m in the year to 31 May.

Profits were hit by £43.7m of exceptional costs largely related to the group’s restructuring in Australia and Nigeria and a writedown on its Australian Home Care brands.

Overall revenue increased about five per cent to £858.9m, while revenue in Africa, its largest market, grew seven per cent. But sales on the continent were dented by economic and social unrest in Nigeria and a strike against the end of an $8bn fuel subsidy in January.

Strong growth in the UK and Indonesia helped offset weak revenues in Australia, where it has been squeezed by domestic retailers promoting own-brand products.