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Final Results for the year ended 31 May 2016

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Click here to read the full statement.

Highlights

Group
•    Revenue growth of 5.9% and operating profit broadly flat on a constant currency basis, with a strong performance in Europe offsetting a difficult trading environment in Africa
•    Group well placed for the future with three year project to move to a new operating model now complete and new product launches underpinning and expanding market shares in the Group’s major markets and categories
•    Strong balance sheet with net debt at 1.2 x EBITDA 
•    Dividend increased 1.4% marking 43rd consecutive year of year on year increases

Africa
•    Tight liquidity and restricted foreign exchange availability in Nigeria, which has begun to improve post year end with a new flexible exchange rate resulting in an approximate 40% devaluation of the Naira
•    Robust performance in Nigeria Home and Personal Care despite extremely competitive environment
•    Revenue and profits in Nigeria Electricals lower as a result of squeeze on disposable income
•    Strong performance in both Nutricima and PZ Wilmar food businesses despite lower raw material availability 

Asia
•    Continued growth in Indonesia in both baby care and non-baby care portfolios 
•    Good performance in Australia across Personal Care, Beauty and Food & Nutrition, offsetting more difficult trading conditions in Home Care

Europe
•    UK washing and bathing division performing well with new product launches across Imperial Leather, Carex and Original Source
•    Strong performance in the Beauty division driven in particular by St Tropez’s new in shower gradual tan lotion and a new range of Sanctuary products 

Commenting today, Richard Harvey (Chairman) said:

“These are a steady set of results, with a strong performance in Europe offsetting a very difficult trading environment in Nigeria and the impact of weaker currencies in both Asia and Africa. Despite these challenging trading conditions, to end the year on a constant currency basis with revenue growth of 5.9% and operating profit broadly flat is a creditable performance. 

The liquidity squeeze and restrictions in foreign exchange availability in Nigeria, caused by the fall in the oil price, have created some of the most difficult trading conditions we have seen for some time and I am proud to see our 130 year experience in Nigeria carry us through this challenging period with our brands holding or growing share. 

It is particularly pleasing to note that the investment we have put into our European region and newly acquired Australian food businesses has been driving growth and has helped rebalance Group profits reducing the dependence on Nigeria.

The end of the financial year also saw the successful completion of the three year project to move to a new operating model and this will stand us in good stead for the future.

The Group’s balance sheet remains strong with net debt of 1.2 x EBITDA at the year end. The strength of our balance sheet gives us the flexibility to further evolve the Group’s portfolio into new areas of growth and to take advantage of new investment opportunities as they arise.

Performance since the year end has been in line with expectations with liquidity in Nigeria beginning to improve. The Group’s focus on its values, robust long-term strategy and innovative product pipeline, provides a strong platform for future sustainable growth, and the Board is pleased to declare a further increase in the full year dividend.”

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