StockMarketWire.com - PZ Cussons, the personal healthcare products and consumer goods manufacturer, has warned operating profits for the half year to 30 November will be 10% lower than the previous period.

It said strong profitability in Asia was offset by reduced margins in some business units in Europe and Africa as a result of the economic environment and competitive trading conditions. Performance is expected to improve in the second half as a result of new product launches and distribution expansion, together with the usual seasonal uplift in Nigeria.

Brand initiatives planned across the group for the second half are expected to deliver a full year outturn broadly in line with the prior year.

Revenue was slightly higher than the prior period. The group said consumers in the UK are shopping cautiously, reflecting general cost inflation outstripping wage growth and broader economic uncertainty. This created tough conditions in the first half which has adversely affected performance.

In Australia, profitability has improved across all categories of personal care, home care and food & nutrition, continuing the positive momentum of the second half of the prior year.

In Nigeria, the Naira has been stable against the US dollar on the interbank market and has strengthened slightly on the secondary market as a result of improved dollar liquidity levels. However, Naira credit availability in the trade has been tight during the first half and the environment for consumers remains challenging following the very significant cost inflation of recent years.

"The group's balance sheet remains strong and well placed to pursue new opportunities as they arise," PZ Cussons said.




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