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PZ Cussons sees lower profit as Africa challenges mount

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(Reuters) – Cosmetics and soap maker PZ Cussons Plc warned of a big fall in full-year profit on Tuesday, hit by sluggish demand and port disruptions in its important Nigerian market.

The maker of Imperial Leather soap and Carex handwash said adjusted pretax profit for the year ending May was now expected to be around 70 million pounds, down from 80.1 million pounds a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 80.37 million, according to a Refinitiv Eikon consensus based on three brokerages.

The company’s shares dropped 8.4 percent to 191.9 pence in early trade.

PZ Cussons also said adjusted first-half pretax profit fell 1.5 percent to 32.8 million pounds.

The company has been struggling to turn around its African business, which contributes over a third of its revenue, with margins being squeezed amid dwindling demand.

In Nigeria, its most important market in Africa, the company said disposable incomes had remained weak ahead of a general election scheduled for February.

PZ Cussons had already warned in December of a lower first-half profit contribution from Nigeria as it faced disruptions in getting goods into the West African nation.

It said on Tuesday profit from Africa plummeted 70.7 percent to 1.2 million in the half-year, and added it would take a 5.5 million pound hit in full-year adjusted profit due to ongoing port disruption.

Overall half year revenue fell 10.4 percent to 335.1 million pounds.

($1 = 0.7601 pounds)

(Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Mark Potter)

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