LONDON -- PZ Cussons (LSE: PZC ) -- a leading consumer products group in Europe, Asia, and Africa -- unveiled positive half-year results, to Nov. 30, 2012, this morning.
Group operating profit was reported up a healthy 13%, the growth attributed to a return to profitability in Australia and a robust performance in the U.K., and pre-tax profit rose almost 10%, to 44 million pounds.
Revenue, however, was flat, with the growth in Europe and Asia negated by problems in Africa, with trading conditions being especially bad in Nigeria.
The generally positive results allowed the company to announce a 5.4% increase in the interim dividend, which rises to 2.35 pence per share.
PZ Cusson's chairman, Richard Harvey, commented: "Our overall performance since the period end has been in line with expectations. Whilst trading conditions in most markets are challenging we remain confident of a return to profitable growth for the full year, with the range of potential outcomes being largely dependent on trading in our largest market Nigeria during its peak season over the coming months."
But, having risen strongly in recent months, at 382 pence PZ's shares now trade at more than 25 times trailing earnings per share and, even though the firm looks set to lift its dividend for a remarkable 40 consecutive years, the shares currently yield less than 2%. So, despite its track record, PZ Cussons' immediate rating may not look that attractive.
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