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PZ Cussons is kicking off a sale process for self-tanning brand St Tropez as part of reorganisation of the group.

The group, which has struggled with a long turnaround process, is refocusing on “where the business can be most competitive and where it can create most value for shareholders”.

It said, in a Q3 update, that St Tropez had significantly since acquisition, establishing a leading position in its key premium self-tanning market of the US.

“Given the strength of the brand’s equity, there remains significant long-term growth potential in the US and in both new geographies and category adjacencies,” PZ Cussons added.

“This growth will however be harder to realise under PZ Cussons’ ownership, given the need to allocate resources across our diverse geographic and category footprint. We therefore plan to realise shareholder value by initiating a process to sell the brand to an owner better placed to capture the brand’s significant long-term potential.”

The group is also looking at strategic options to reduce risk in its African operations.

CEO Jonathan Myers said: “The actions we are taking will crystallise value for our investors from assets better suited to alternative ownership structures. This will enable us to invest our resources in the key geographies and categories in which we can win and generate superior returns.

“We are transforming PZ Cussons into a business with stronger brands in a more focused portfolio, delivering sustainable profitable growth.”

PZ Cussons reiterated its full-year outlook after improving like-for-like revenues in its third quarter as it returned to volume growth in Europe and the Americas.

Like-for-like sales increased 6.4% in the period ended 2 March 2024, but overal revenues declined 24% as a result of the devaluation of the Nigerian naira.

Volumes grew 0.2% versus a 2.9% decline in the first half thanks to improved momentum in the UK brands such as Original Source and Childs Farm.

Excluding Africa, like-for-like revenues fell 2.9% in Q3, an improvement on the 3.9% decline in the first half.

Myers said: “We have made significant progress in strengthening PZ Cussons in recent years - building brands, restoring capabilities and re-energising and professionalising the organisation.

“Today we are re-iterating our FY24 outlook, having delivered improved LFL revenue growth in Q3 on an improved volume trend. Nevertheless, the macro-economic challenges and complexities associated with operating in Nigeria are significant and there is much more to do to unlock the full potential of the business.”

Shares in PZ Cussons jumped 5.2% to 99.5p as markets reacted to the news.

Morning update

“Good” first quarter for Reckitt

Volumes at Reckitt Benckiser have been held back by a slump at its nutrition division in the first quarter as concerns around the group’s baby formula in the US weighed on the business.

Like-for-like net revenues grew 1.5% to £3.7bn as higher prices offset a volume decline of 0.5% across the group.

Excluding nutrition, Reckitt volumes in the hygience and health portfolios rose 1.4% as key brands such as Finish, Lysol, Dettol and Durex performed well.

However, the volumes in the nutrition division plunged 9.4% and like-for-like sales fell 9.9%. Reckitt blamed the fall on lapping a strong first quarter a year ago when there was a shortage of its competitor’s baby formula in the US.

Reckitt has been under intense scutiny this year after a jury in the US award a woman $60m in damages after the courts found a Mead Johnson product led to the premature death of her baby.

CEO Kris Licht said this morning: “We have delivered a good first quarter.

“Following a period of price-led growth, we are now returning to a more balanced contribution from price, mix and volume. We grew volumes in many of our powerbrands in the quarter, including Lysol, Dettol, Durex and Finish, as well as our non-seasonal OTC portfolio.”

He added Reckitt was on track to hit full-year revenue and profit targets.

Heineken returns to volume growth

Heineken has returned to volume growth in “an encouraging start” to 2024 as an early Easter boosted the Dutch brewing giant.

Net revenues in the first quarter increased 7.2% to €8.2bn, with organic growth of 9.4%.

Beer volumes registered organic growth of 4.7% in the period, helped by comparisons with poor performance a year ago in Africa & the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions, with the company particularly struggling in Vietnam and Nigeria.

An early Easter also contributed to the Q1 performance in Europe and the Americas.

Drinkers continued to be attracted to Heineken’s premium portfolio, with volumes rising 7.3% as the Heineken brand (which increased volumes 12.9%) was complemented by the likes of Tiger, Desperados, Birra Moretti and Kingfisher Ultra.

Heineken 0.0 also grew volumes in the high teens.

CEO Dolf van den Brink said: “All regions grew volume and net revenue, and we continued to see a sequential improvement in the performance of the business, growing in line or ahead of the category in the majority of our markets.

“This quarter was boosted by an earlier Easter and cycling negative one-off effects from last year. Top-line delivery was well-balanced between volume and value as more markets returned to volume growth and our underlying premiumisation trends remained strong.”

Heineken added the economic environment remained challenging and uncertain but the group continued to expect operating profit growth in the low-to-high single digit range.

Nichols updates on Q1 trading

Revenues at Vimto owner Nichols decreased 5.9% year on year to £38.8m in the first quarter as growth in the UK was offset by expected decline internationally.

The group said in a trading update ahead of its AGM that the slowdown overseas was due to the phasing of shipments and strong prior year comparatives, as well as the continued rationalisation and focus on profitability in the out of home business.

UK packaged sales rose 6.8% to £20.4m, driven by an underlying volume increase of 4.4% over the period. The Vimto brand continued to grow in value, largely reflecting new product innovation and increased distribution.

International packaged revenues decreased by 23% to £9.8m as a result of the timing of shipments into the Middle East and reduced volumes in Africa, which benefited from one-off launch volumes into Ivory Coast during the same period last year.

Full-year adjusted pre-tax profits forecast at the group remained unchanged.

Record year for Supreme

Vape maker Supreme has delivered a record financial performance in the year to 31 March 2024, the group said in a year-end trading update.

The performance was drivene organic revenue and profit growth across all divisions, with the Group almost doubling profitability year-on-year and generating record levels of cash.

Supreme expects to report FY24 revenue of around £225m, compared with £155.6m a year ago and adjusted EBITDA of at least £38m, in-line with current market expectations.

“Supreme’s continued investment in rechargeable pod system vaping devices, coupled with the company’s exceptional long-standing progress in developing a uniquely diverse vape product mix, has ensured it is well positioned to adapt to changes in the UK e-cigarette market,” the statement said.

Haleon appoints CFO

Consumer health giant Haleon has appointed Dawn Allen as CFO to replace Tobias Hestler who is leaving the group on 1 November.

Allen is currently CFO at ingredients group Tate & Lyle. She previously had a 25-year career at Mars, where she was most recently global CFO and VP global transformation.

Before that, she held a number of senior financial roles in Europe and the US.

Seh also currently serves as a non-executive director and member of the audit and risk committee of ITV.

Haleon CEO Brian McNamara said Allen had “a proven track record” as a CFO with extensive consumer and international experience.

Chairman Dave Lewis added: “We are very pleased to appoint Dawn as Haleon’s CFO. Dawn has deep consumer and financial experience and will be a very welcome addition to the board.”

Tate & Lyle separately announced it had started a process to appoint a successor to Allen.

CEO Nick Hampton said: “During her time at Tate & Lyle, Dawn has played a key role in maintaining strong financial discipline across the business, and leaves behind a proven team that will continue to support the delivery of our growth-focused strategy. We wish her every success in the next stage of her career.”

Morning shares

The FTSE 100 rose another 0.5% to 8,080.67pts this morning.

Reckitt jumped 4.1% to 4,422p on the back of its Q1 performance.

Heineken shares opened 0.4% to €91.20, while Nichols fell 1% to 990p.

Surpreme also rose 2.8% to 124.9p, while Haleon increased 0.5% to 334.5p and Tate & Lyle fell 0.7% to 640.5p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 reached another new record high yesterday, breaching the 8,000pts barrier. The index nudged up 0.3% to 8,044.81pts.

Shares in ABF rocketed 9% to 2,731p after the Primark owner reporting soaring profits and raised full-year outlook.

Ocado was also among the risers, up 5.4% to 377.8p after Kantar reported the group as the fastest-growing grocer once again in the past 12 weeks.

THG also jumped 5.2% to 65.2p as the ecommerce group reported an acceleration of growth in Q1.