World Markets

PZ Cussons flags weak consumer confidence in key markets

PZ Cussons Plc said on Wednesday it expects conditions in its key markets to remain challenging for the rest of the first-half, as the cosmetics and soap maker reported declining first-quarter revenue in Asia-Pacific and Africa.

Adds details on outlook, background

Sept 25 (Reuters) - PZ Cussons Plc PZC.L said on Wednesday it expects conditions in its key markets to remain challenging for the rest of the first-half, as the cosmetics and soap maker reported declining first-quarter revenue in Asia-Pacific and Africa.

The maker of Imperial Leather soap and Carex handwash said its key markets continue to be affected by weak consumer confidence, with the Nigerian economy remaining depressed, uncertainty in the UK, and highly competitive markets in Australia.

Company said it expects its full-year results to be in line with last year, but are "dependent on no further worsening in our key markets, specifically the UK and Nigeria".

Britons are cutting back on spending as the country's impending exit from the European Union weighs on sentiment and the economy, while Nigeria's annual inflation dipped to its lowest in almost four years in August.

The company has been struggling to turn around its African business, which contributes over a third of its revenue, with margins being squeezed amid dwindling demand.

"The UK Personal Care brands were affected by consumer uncertainty and heavy promotional activity, leading to lower revenue," the company said. Increased promotional expenditure in Australia also led to a drop in revenue.

Australian retailers have also been hammered as a downturn in property prices has consumers spending less.

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

((tanishaa.nadkar@thomsonreuters.com; Within UK +44 20 7542 1810; Outside UK +91 80 6749 1691; Twitter: @TanishaaNadkar;))

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