- Consumer goods group PZ Cussons reported a fall in underlying first-half profit, pinned on tough trading conditions Nigeria and weakness in Australia and the UK.

Pre-tax profit from continuing operations for the six months through November actually rose 35% to £34.7m, though the bottom line was boosted by a one-off gain on the sale of Greek assets and lower exceptional charges.

Underlying pre-tax profit fell 13% to £28.0m, as sales dropped 3.1% to £293.3m, or by 4.3% on a constant currency basis.

PZ Cussons held its interim dividend steady at 2.67p per share.

'A stronger second half profit before tax is expected, subject to no further worsening of the economic and trading environments across our key geographies,' the company said.

Even so, full-year revenue and pre-tax profit from continuing operations were expected to be modestly below the prior year.

PZ Cussons said plans to appoint a successor to chief executive Alex Kanellis, who will retire at the end of January, were 'well advanced'.

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