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Final Results for the year ended 31 May 2014

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Click here to read the full statement.

Highlights

Group

•  Revenue growth in constant currency of 2% on prior year; in addition JV revenue increasing by £172m
•  Operating profit growth of 7% despite the impact of weakening currencies
•  Excluding the impact of exchange rates, operating profit would have been 18% higher than prior year
•  Rafferty's Garden acquisition completed early in the year for £42.2m in cash
•  Disposal of Polish Home Care brands completed in February for £46.6m in cash
•  Strong balance sheet with only a small net debt position at the end of the year
•  Total dividend increased 5% year on year being the 41st year of consecutive year on year increases

Africa

•  Operating profit growth in Nigeria despite increased levels of disruption in the north of the country
•  Revenue of African Food and Nutrition joint ventures reaches £260m
•  PZ Wilmar joint venture performing well with refinery operating close to capacity
•  Good revenue and profitability growth achieved in the Nutricima joint venture with Glanbia

Asia

•  Revenue and profit growth achieved despite the significant impact of weakening currencies
•  Underlying performance in key markets of Australia and Indonesia strong
•  Rafferty's Garden acquisition marked the Group's entry into Food and Nutrition in Asia

Europe

•  Strong performance in UK Washing and Bathing division with all four brands performing well
•  Major relaunch of Imperial Leather range post year end
•  St Tropez demand continues to be boosted by Kate Moss as brand ambassador
•  Good performance in smaller markets of Poland and Greece

 

Commenting today, Richard Harvey (Chairman) said:

“The Group has delivered a strong set of results with Sterling operating profits 7% ahead of the prior year. This has been achieved despite a significant weakening in currencies which impacted profits by circa £12m and without which profits would have been 18% higher on prior year.

It has been particularly pleasing to see the progress of the palm oil joint venture with Wilmar with the brands Mamador and Devon King’s performing well and the refinery operating close to capacity in its first full year of operation.

During the year we acquired Rafferty’s Garden and sold our Polish Home Care brands as we continue to seek to focus the business on areas we perceive have particularly high growth potential and where we can add substantial value. The acquisition of Rafferty’s Garden marked our entry into the Asian Food and Nutrition category, a sector we believe is particularly exciting and where we are developing plans for further growth. Having disposed of the Polish Home Care brands we are now focussing on the Personal Care and Beauty business in that region.

Our balance sheet remains strong and we have the appetite to pursue further investment opportunities which fit our strategic aims.

The 5% increase in the Group's dividend marks the 41st year of consecutive year on year increases.

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.
 

Our overall performance since the year end has been in line with management expectations.”

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