LONDON -- PZ Cussons (LSE: PZC.L ) fell 1% to 318 pence this morning after the mid-cap share lifted its annual dividend for the 39th consecutive year. PZ, whose range of household brands include Imperial Leather and Carex, raised its 12-month payout by 2% to 6.7 pence per share.
PZ's preliminary results were a mixed affair. Sales improved by 5% to 859 million pounds, while underlying profits slumped 15% to 92 million pounds. Higher material costs, disappointing Australian trade, and "social and economic tensions" in Nigeria were cited for the shortfall.
Commenting on the results, chairman Richard Harvey said:
Despite the external challenges, the Group remains committed to driving profitable growth through brand renovation and innovation, and through further cost reduction. During the year, underlying revenue growth continued across the business, particularly in the UK, in the Beauty division and in Indonesia. As we start the current financial year this momentum, together with our new Cussons Mum & Me and Fudge ranges, will help to ensure this growth continues.
At 318 pence, PZ's shares trade at 22 times today's earnings figure and yield 2.1%. Although PZ has an illustrious track record, the company's immediate rating does not look so attractive. However, there are other shares in the market today that boast durable dividend records and trade at more reasonable valuations.
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