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PZ Cussons Annual Profit Rises, Stock Up

Consumer products group PZ Cussons Plc. (PZC.L) Tuesday reported higher profit for the year, with revenue growth in all regions of Africa, Asia and Europe. The stock is gaining over 3 percent.

Profit attributable to equityholders of the company surged to 63.1 million pounds ($97 million) from 34.4 million pounds in the prior year. Earnings per share climbed to 14.70 pence from 7.99 pence.

The group incurred pre-tax exceptional costs of 12.7 million pounds in the year, mainly related to the completion of the supply chain optimisation project, compared to 43.8 million pounds last year.

Excluding items, profit attributable to equityholders rose to 71.1 million pounds from 63.1 million pounds.

Pre-tax profit surged to 94.8 million pounds from 48.5 million pounds.

Adjusted profit before tax climbed 16.5 percent to 107.5 million pounds. Revenue improved 2.8 percent to 883.2 million pounds from 858.9 million pounds in the prior year.

The latest results benefited from a return to profit of the Australian business, lower raw material costs and margin improvement initiative.

Revenue improved marginally in Africa to 362.7 million pounds with Nigeria continuing to represent over 80 percent of revenue.

Asia revenue grew 8 percent to 174.9 million pounds, predominantly due to Indonesia which marked another consecutive year of double digit growth.

Europe revenues rose more than 3 percent to 345.6 million pounds, despite tough trading conditions. The UK and Poland showed growth, whilst revenue in Greece was lower due to the macroeconomic situation.

The Board recommended a final dividend of 5.04 pence per share, up from last year's 4.487 pence per share. This would give a total dividend of 7.39 pence per share, up 10 percent for the year. Further, the firm said overall performance of the group since the year end has been in line with expectations.

''The Wilmar joint venture and the acquisition of Rafferty's Garden will both make a contribution to growth in the new financial year, and with a strong balance sheet, we remain well placed to pursue further opportunities as they arise,'' the company noted.

PZC.L is currently up 3.2 percent at 400.50 pence.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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