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PZ Cussons has told the market it is trading in line with expectations amid a rebound in its Nigeria business despite volatility and currency devaluation in the country.

Updating the market ahead of its AGM later today, the beauty group said it remains on target to meet expectations laid out in September when issuing its full year results.

The group expects to report low-single-digit like-for-like revenue growth for first half of the year, reflecting strong growth in Nigeria and Australia/New Zealand, offset by a decline in Indonesia.

The group said its Europe and Americas business is stable overall, with significantly-improving momentum in its UK washing and bathing brands offset by a decline in its beauty business.

It expects to deliver a “robust” year-on-year operating margin improvement in the first half and both revenue growth and operating margin to improve in the second half of its financial year.

It said it continues to make progress in Nigeria since falling to a loss-making position in the country in its 2020 financial year, with trading strong in its first half and the majority of its brands holding or gaining market share.

It noted that the lack of availability of US Dollars in Nigeria has created “significant challenges” for the day-to-day funding of the Nigerian business.

This issue was exacerbated in June 2023, following the new government’s liberalisation of the FX regime and resulting devaluation of the Naira.

PZ Cussons said it has since accelerated both its operational and corporate plans, enabling the group to mitigate these risks. More broadly, in recent weeks, FX market liquidity has shown tentative signs of improvement.

Meanwhile, the proposed transaction to de-list and buy out the minority shareholdings of PZ Cussons Nigeria is progressing as planned.

The group’s shares are up 1.4% this morning to 139.9p.

Morning update

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is up 0.3% to 7,488.8pts.

Risers include Bakkavor, up 5.7% to 89.8p, Glanbia, up 4.2% to €15.52 and Just Eat, up 2.4% to 1,283p.

Fallers include Imperial Brands, down 2.2% to 1,836.5p, Pets at Home, down 1.9% to 291p and Nichols, down 1.9% to 1,001p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 was relatively unmoved by the UK autumn statement, edging down 0.2% to 7,469.5pts.

Britvic ended the day down 0.6% at 834p despite posting strong full year revenue growth and solid volume sales as margins contracted.

Fallers included Naked Wines, down 3.3% to 38.7p, Premier Foods, down 0.6% to 128.6p, Marks & Spencer, down 0.5% to 251p and Tate & Lyle, down 0.5% to 628.5p.

The day’s risers included Cranswick, up 3.6% to 3,846p, C&C Group, up 3.1% to 140p, Kerry Group, up 2.7% to €73.60, Nichols, up 2% to 1,020p, FeverTree, up 1.9% to 1,073p and WH Smith, up 1.8% to 1,325p.