PZ Cussons urges caution

PZ Cussons said it was cautious about prospects for the rest of its financial year due to an uncertain consumer outlook, higher commodity costs and high levels of sales in promotions. The maker of Imperial Leather soaps and Carex anti-bacterial hand-washes said first-half results were in line with expectations, with profit marginally higher on broadly flat revenue. Profitability was up in Asia and broadly flat in Africa, but down in Europe, due partly to the Greek economic crisis and to high levels of Carex sales last year during the outbreak of swine flu. “We remain cautious about the trading environment for the remainder of the year given continued high levels of promotional activity – particularly in the UK – a challenging outlook for the consumer in a number of markets, global increases in a number of commodity costs and potential disruption to trading from the Nigerian election process,” it said.