StockMarketWire.com - PZ Cussons' FY pretax profit plunged 32.1% to £84.0m, from £123.7m previously. Revenue was £819.1m, from £861.4m. Total dividend was 8p a share, from 7.76p.

Chairman Richard Harvey described the performance as solid, and noted the completion of several strategic initiatives.

"Despite tough trading conditions, particularly in our largest market Nigeria, underlying revenue and operating profit grew 2.3% and 2.7% respectively, and our market share positions were either held or grown in our core categories.

"As part of our long-term strategy to focus the Group's portfolio on higher growth, value add businesses, a number of strategic initiatives were successfully completed in the year.

"To develop our Food & Nutrition Category further and to create a broader portfolio for expansion into South East Asia we acquired the Australian food brand five:am early in the financial year, following the acquisition last year of the Rafferty's Garden brand.

"In addition, we now own 100% of our Nigerian beverage business after completing the buy-out of Nutricima from our joint venture partner.

"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.

"The Board is pleased to declare a further increase in the full year dividend, marking 42 consecutive years that we have increased our dividend year-on-year, every year.

"Performance since the year-end has been in line with expectations. Whilst the outlook remains challenging, the Group's focus on its values, robust long-term strategy, our innovative product pipeline, and the strategic steps we have taken, provide a strong and exciting platform for future sustainable growth."

Highlights:

· Revenue and operating profit growth of 2.3% and 2.7% respectively on a like for like basis

· Extensive brand renovation and innovation program driving growth in all regions

· Reported results reflect the negative exchange impact from weakening currencies and the net impact of acquisitions and disposals

· Australian food brand five:am acquired in August for initial consideration of £44.8m in cash and performing well

· Buy-out in April of joint venture partner of Nigerian beverage business for £21m in cash and performing well

· Strong balance sheet with net debt at 1.2 x EBITDA following acquisitions

· Dividend increased 3.1% marking 42nd consecutive year of year on year increases





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