The manufacturer of personal care products, soaps and detergents reported revenues of £369.9m (€426.6m) for the six months ending 30 November 2009; an increase of 0.7 per cent on the corresponding 2008 period.
Operating profits rose 21.7 per cent to £44.9m, with this short term profitable growth coming from investment in both brand portfolio and supply chain facilities, according to company CEO Anthony Green.
Strong performance across personal care division
The company’s toiletries and household division recorded revenues of £286.6m; up from £281m the previous year.
In the three regions in which the group operates; Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa, Europe was the strongest performer with particularly robust sales reported in the UK and Poland.
PZ Cusson also launched the liquid hand soap in Poland and Indonesia in order to capitalize on the increased public awareness of hand hygiene following the H1N1 outbreak that saw sales of Carex in the UK significantly increase.
In addition, the company’s market share in the washing and bathing category has further increased as a result of the integrated manufacturing site at Manchester, England that continues to deliver a high number of new products to the market, said the company.
A similarly strong performance in the Asia-Pacific region was recorded, with revenue and profitability in Australia and Indonesia both ahead of the same period last year.
Investment in Nigeria
Despite sales being affected by a temporary lack of liquidity in the market as a result of a tightening of banking controls in Nigeria, together with an adverse currency impact, operating profits in Africa also increased, the company said.
Growth in the personal care division in Nigeria continues to be driven by the renovation of core brands in the hair care, skin care and baby care market, with particularly well-performing brands including Premier and Joy soaps.
The Group expects its £39m investment programme in Nigeria involving the relocation and modernization of manufacturing facilities to be completed this year, which is expected to lead to future growth across all regions.
Optimistic outlook for rest of year
Based on PZ Cussons’ encouraging first-half performance in what has been a difficult period for many personal care players, the company expects growth to continue during the remainder of the financial year.
“Overall performance since the period end has been in line with management expectations. We remain cautiously optimistic for the full year outturn and well placed to pursue further investment opportunities,” said Green.