PZ Cussons hopes refillable hand wash can boost UK business

The maker of Imperial Leather has pinned its hopes in the UK on a range of environmentally friendly soaps as it said that the second half of the year is likely to be better than a meek first six months.

Revenue at PZ Cussons fell 3.1% over the first half to £293.3 million. On an adjusted basis, pre-tax profit dropped by 11.9% to £28 million.

The company said it expects profit before tax to improve in the second half of the year, as long as the tough market does not worsen.

It hopes that a range of refillable hand wash containers, and other products due to be launched later this year, can help the UK kick off again, stabilising its troubled business in the country.

PZ Cussons said it had managed to grab market share in the UK’s washing and bathing market in the last six months, “despite a difficult trading market”.

“The group’s adjusted results for the first half of the year were impacted by challenging market conditions across our key geographies,” said chair Caroline Silver.

The company made an operating loss of around £600,000 in Africa after serious congestion around the port in Lagos, Nigeria, ate into its bottom line.

The news comes just days before chief executive Alex Kanellis, who has been in the role for more than a quarter of a century, is set to step down.

Ms Silver said that “plans to appoint his successor are well advanced.”

Mr Kanellis leaves the business after its started shedding parts of operations in a bid to refocus on its core assets.

Last year, it sold the Greek food-maker Minerva for £41 million, to a Luxenbourg-based investment company.

Shares in the company pushed around 1.3% higher to 197.2p.

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