Full-year revenues slipped 4.9% at personal care goods group PZ Cussons (PZC), but the company declared itself satisfied with like-for-like growth of 2.3% in “tough conditions”.
Group revenues were £819.1m in the year to 31 May against £861.4m last year, representing constant currency growth of 0.7%.
Pre-tax profit (before exceptional items) slipped 5.4% to £108.8m, a constant currency decline of 1.9% and 1% down on a like-for-like basis. After exceptional items, primarily restructuring and acquisition costs, pre-tax profit was 32.1% down to £84m from £123.7m last year.
Chairman Richard Harvey said he was pleased with a “solid performance”. He added: “Despite tough trading conditions, particularly in our largest market Nigeria, underlying revenue and operating profit grew 2.3% and 2.7% respectively, and our market share positions were either held or grown in our core categories.
“As part of our long-term strategy to focus the group’s portfolio on higher growth, value add businesses, a number of strategic initiatives were successfully completed in the year. To develop our food & nutrition category further and to create a broader portfolio for expansion into South East Asia we acquired the Australian food brand five:am early in the financial year, following the acquisition last year of the Rafferty’s Garden brand. In addition, we now own 100% of our Nigerian beverage business after completing the buy-out of Nutricima from our joint venture partner.”
It suffered a tough year in Nigeria, its largest market, political disruption, the Ebola outbreak and a significant currency devaluation.
UK washing and bathing performed well, it said, driven by “an exciting innovation pipeline”.
Also this morning, food travel company SSP Group (SSPG) saw “good” trading in its third quarter to 30 June. Revenues were up by 4.1% on a constant currency basis, with like-for-like sales growth of 3.2%, compared with the same period last year. At actual currency rates revenues decreased by 0.1% year-on-year, given the strengthening of Sterling against major European currencies compared with the prior year.
Like-for-like sales in the third quarter continued to benefit from good growth in the UK, benefiting from strong passenger growth in the air sector, and in North America, driven by the performance of Terminal 4 at New York JFK airport.
Sports nutrition firm Science in Sport (SIS) saw sales increase by 19% in the six months to 30 June to £5.2m. Sales growth was particularly strong in e-commerce, both from third-party e-tailers and from the company’s own website, and in international markets. The company expects year on year sales growth will be weighted towards the second half of the financial year.
PZ Cussons has fallen 1.4% to 355p in early trading after its full-year results. SSP is 0.8% down to 304.4p, but Science in Sport has leapt 8% to 70.7p.
The FTSE 100 has opened flat this morning, with M&S (MKS) continuing to slide after falling another 0.6% to 531p.
Yesterday in the City
The FTSE 100 edged up 0.2%, to 6788.6pts yesterday on a solid, if unspectacular day in the City.
The retail and consumer sector helped offset some weakness in the mining sector, with Sainsbury’s (SBRY) the stand-out performer. The supermarket was up 2.1% to 272.3p – the FTSE 100’s second largest riser – while Reckitt Benckiser (RB) rose 0.9% to 6008p.
There were also more modest rises for Morrisons (MRW), up 0.7% to 183.8p, and Tesco (TSCO), up 0.3% to 218.6p. The day was less encouraging for Marks & Spencer, where CEO Marc Bolland’s future has come under renewed speculation in recent days, falling 1% to 534p.
Elsewhere, Finsbury Food Group (FIF) continued its tremendous run since last week’s encouraging market update, rising another 2.7% to 99p. The shares are up almost 19% since Tuesday last week.