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PZ Cussons' half-year profit falls as demand softens, costs rise

By Reuters

-Soap maker PZ Cussons said on Wednesday its first-half profit fell from a year earlier as demand for its hand wash and sanitisers dipped from the heights hit during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The maker of Imperial Leather soap and Carex hand wash warned of rising inflationary pressures that could increase its expenses, but reiterated that adjusted pre-tax profit for the year to May 2022 should fall within current market estimates.

“Commodity and freight costs show no sign of abating in the near term and we continue to anticipate cost pressures into fiscal year 2023,” Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Myers said in a statement.

The Manchester-based company said its adjusted profit before tax from continuing operations fell 8% to 32 million pounds ($43.4 million) in the six months ended November, from 34.9 million pounds a year earlier.

Still, the group’s revenue returned to growth in the second quarter after having fallen 9% in the three months prior.

PZ Cussons also approved an interim dividend of 2.67 pence per share.

($1 = 0.7377 pounds)