Soap maker PZ Cussons has recorded a 7% rise in full year profits despite negative currency movements and unrest in Nigeria.
The Imperial Leather maker saw operating profit rise by 7.4% to £116.4m (before exceptional items). Excluding the impact of exchange rates, PZ Cusssons said operating profit would have been 18% higher than prior year.
The profit boost was achieved against a 2.5% fall in revenue to £861.4m, though this represents a rise of 2% on a constant currency basis.
Chairman Richard Harvey called the figures “a strong set of results” noting they had been achieved “despite a significant weakening in currencies”.
He added: “Whilst trading conditions in most markets remain challenging, the group remains focussed on a dynamic and fast brand renovation and innovation programme and successful delivery of new areas of growth such as Rafferty’s Garden and the Wilmar joint venture.
“These initiatives will help to offset the continuing macro challenges, including foreign exchange volatility, and the reduction in profits from Poland as a result of the strategic Home Care brands sale.”
During the year the firm acquired Rafferty’s Garden and sold its Polish Home Care brands. It also said its palm oil joint venture with Wilmar was performing well and the refinery was operating close to full capacity.
PZ Cussons saw operating profit grow in Nigeria, its largest African market, despite increased levels of disruption in the north of the country.
In Europe, strong performance in its washing and bathing division resulted in higher operating profits versus the prior year. In the UK over 70% of its washing and bathing products, including Original Source and Carex, were relaunched or refreshed in the year. Its entire Imperial Leather portfolio is to be launched in the new financial year.
The overall performance of the firm since the year-end has been in line with management expectations, the company said, while ongoing cost control and delivering new areas of growth “will help to offset the continuing macro challenges, including foreign exchange volatility, and the reduction in profits from Poland as a result of the Home Care brands sale”.