PZ Cussons Plc - Trading Update For Year ended 31 May 2021
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PZ Cussons plc ("PZ Cussons" or the "Group")
A year of solid progress and broad-based growth
PZ Cussons today issues the following trading update in respect of its financial year ended 31 May 2021, in advance of the preliminary results announcement on 22 September 2021.
- Adjusted Profit Before Tax is expected to be ahead of consensus (1) and the prior year
- Revenue (2) up +7%, with all Regions and Hygiene, Baby and Beauty categories in growth. Must Win Brands grew +11%
- Overall gross margin improved, driven by positive price / mix (2) in each of our core categories
- Brand investment accelerated in H2, with the full year increase wholly behind Must Win Brands
- Balance Sheet remains robust. Net Debt reduced since Q3 and lower than last year
- Unprecedented demand for our hygiene brands at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic is currently holding back year on year revenue comparisons and, as a result, Q4 declined versus the prior year. However, our Must Win Brands still showed strong momentum, with Q4 growth of +7% over the two-years since FY19
- Current trading since the end of the financial year remains in line with management expectations
Delivering Our New Strategy - Building Brands for Life, Today and for Future Generations
- Further evolution and focus of the portfolio. Disposal of Nutricima, our Nigerian milk business, in H1, and our Australian yogurt business five:am on 4 June 2021
- Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Marketing Transformation Officer to join the Executive Leadership Team early September to lead our ESG efforts and strengthen our brand building capabilities
Jonathan Myers, Chief Executive Officer, commented
"It's been a year of solid progress at PZ Cussons. Despite the obvious volatility and challenges, we returned the business to revenue growth, delivered positive price / mix to improve gross margin and put our focus and investment back into building brands. We rolled out our new strategy - Building Brands for Life, Today and for Future Generations - and have already started to deliver against it.
However, our work has only just begun. In the immediate term we are lapping some exceptional demand levels from the peak months of the COVID-19 pandemic, both as we ended the last financial year and as we navigate the first quarter of this year. Along with other consumer goods companies, we are dealing with commodity and other cost headwinds. We are accelerating price increases and strengthening Revenue Growth Management plans to mitigate the impact of these headwinds and drive up price / mix to protect gross margin and continue to invest in our brands.
In the longer term we are working to sustain the early impetus of the turnaround over the coming years. We have much to do but I am confident that we are building the team and the momentum to deliver this multi-year transformation. The commitment and determination of the PZ Cussons team around the world has been clear for me and all to see over the past year and I am grateful for their hard work. We have re-ignited our pioneering spirit and are ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead."