Cussons shares plummet amid profit warning

Shares of Manchester-based consumer products company PZ Cussons — the maker of Carex and Imperial Leather — fell as much as 20% after the firm warned of lower annual profit and cut its interim dividend.

Announcing results for the six months ended December 2, 2023, Cussons said: “As indicated in previous announcements, the devaluation of the Nigerian Naira has had a significant impact on our financial results and comparisons to the prior year.

“The foreign exchange loss in the period was £88.2 million and was wholly the result of the devaluation of the Naira which fell by 51% between 31 May 2023 and 2 December 2023 …

Statutory results show an operating loss of £89.7 million having been materially impacted by these foreign exchange losses …

Revenue declined by 17.8% (£59.8 million) to £277.1 million of which £52.9 million was attributable to the Naira devaluation …

Given the material financial impact of the Naira devaluation, the board has determined it is prudent to reduce the interim dividend by 44% to 1.50p.”

In its outlook, Cussons said: “At our FY23 full year results in September, we noted that the Nigerian macroeconomic environment, and the currency particularly, would be the key determinant of FY24 results.

“Since then, we have experienced further depreciation of the Naira, with the official rate falling more than 30% since our balance sheet date of 2 December.

“As a result, we now expect FY24 adjusted operating profit, at reported rates of exchange, to be in the range of £55-60 million.”

Cussons said this compares to the prevailing consensus operating profit range of £61.5 million to £68.2 million.