Cussons shares fall 15% on profit warning

Shares of Manchester-based soaps and consumer products company PZ Cussons fell 15% on Tuesday after it said it expects a decline in profit for the year ending May, hurt by challenging conditions in its important Nigerian market.

The company said full-year adjusted pretax profit is now expected to be £70 million, down from £80.1 million a year earlier.

PZ Cussons also said adjusted pretax profit for the half year to November 30 fell 1.5% to £32.8 million.

Cussons chair Caroline Silver said: “The group continues to make pleasing progress in Europe and Asia, with new product development and increased support across our key brands delivering positive momentum.

“Disappointingly, however, the macroeconomic conditions in Nigeria remain extremely challenging and continue to have a significant negative impact on overall group performance.

“Reflecting this, we now expect group adjusted profit before tax for the year to be towards £70 million.  

“Balance sheet strength will remain a priority for the business.

“The group’s balance sheet remains strong, with net debt lower than the prior period.

“The board has maintained the interim dividend at 2.67p per share. 

“We anticipate that consumer demand in all our key markets will remain subdued.

“Whilst these conditions prevail, we will maintain our strong market shares in key product categories in Nigeria until growth returns to the market.

“In Personal Care and Beauty across Europe and Asia, identified as sources of growth for the Group, we will continue to prioritise higher investment levels behind carefully targeted key brand and market opportunities. 

“Furthermore, the board has approved specific strategic initiatives which will streamline our portfolio of activities and limit exposure to volatility in Nigeria, with more information to be provided in due course.”