• Saturday, February 24, 2024
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PZ Cussons sees minimal impact from north Nigeria unrest

PZ CussonsPZ Cussons Plc, the maker of Imperial Leather soaps, expects minimal impact from the continued unrest in northern Nigeria, its chief financial officer said.

Nigeria is the British soap and shampoo maker’s biggest market, though it also sells in Ghana and Kenya. Africa accounted for about 42 percent of Cussons’ revenue in the year ended May 31.

“Year-on-year impact is quite small but it just means that rather than growing in the north, the sales are down 1 or 2 percent in the north,” Chief Financial Officer Brandon Leigh told Reuters.

However, Leigh added that sales had been growing in the south and east of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy.

Shares in the company fell nearly 3 percent on Tuesday morning on the London Stock Exchange.

Insurgents from Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden”, are fighting to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria. Since a military offensive began last year, the Islamists have taken out their anger on civilians in increasingly frequent attacks.

“Cussons employs 4,000 workers in Nigeria and most of those are in south in Lagos where we have two factory sites and also in the east where we have a soap factory,” Leigh said.

Cussons also said it was carefully monitoring the Ebola situation in Nigeria.

Analysts at Investec Securities said that the “run-up to the general election in February, and trading in the more important second-half period, will be influential on full-year results.”

The brokerage has a “hold” rating on the stock with a target price of 386 pence.

The company said that its UK washing and bathing division performed strongly, helped by the relaunch of the entire Imperial Leather range since June. Europe accounts for about 36 percent of its revenue.

Shares in the Manchester-based company were down 1.8 percent at 373.3 pence at 0920 GMT