Imperial Leather soap bar
The Imperial Leather maker’s Nigeria arm has seen a significant improvement in profitability in recent years / Image source: Adobe
  • Carex maker offers £22.8 million for minority-held shares
  • Deal to ‘simplify and strengthen’ Nigeria business
  • But unit’s volatile history means investors unconvinced

Branded consumer goods group PZ Cussons (PZC) has offered to buy the minority-held shares in its Nigeria business for £22.8 million in a deal management argues will strengthen its operation in the highly populous African nation.

Nigeria is a big contributor to PZ Cussons’ revenue but the business, which sells family care brands including Premier, Joy and Morning Fresh, often seems to mar the company’s updates due to the volatility of the currency and the country itself.

The Nigeria arm’s patchy record combined with a rich offer price perhaps explains why shares in PZ Cussons softened 1.2% to 155.2p on the news.

SIMPLIFY AND STRENGTHEN

The company behind brands such as Carex, Cussons Baby, Imperial Leather and Original Source wants to buy out the minority ownership of PZ Cussons Nigeria and de-list the business from the Nigerian stock exchange.

FTSE 250 constituent PZ Cussons has offered to pay the thick end of £23 million in cash to acquire the 26.7% of PZ Cussons Nigeria it doesn’t already own, representing a 20% premium to yesterday’s (4 September) closing price.

The Manchester-headquartered firm insisted the acquisition will ‘significantly simplify and strengthen’ its business in Nigeria, which has seen a significant improvement in profitability in recent years, putting in place ‘a sustainable structure and platform to maximise long-term growth and value’.

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Besides giving minority shareholders an exit in hard cash, PZ Cussons argued the offer is ‘in the interests of group investors, as part of the focus to deliver against its strategy and create sustainable shareholder value’.

However, in a trading update on 27 June, PZ Cussons flagged a hit from devaluation of the naira following a policy announcement from the Central Bank of Nigeria to liberalise the country’s foreign exchange regime, part of a suite of economic reforms under a new government.

While PZ Cussons conceded naira devaluation would lead to higher raw material costs for the Nigeria business due to the higher cost of US dollar imports, the company said it expected to ‘largely offset this through mitigating actions such as pricing, as successfully demonstrated over the last two years’.

THE SHORE CAPITAL VIEW

Shore Capital said the proposed acquisition ‘makes strategic and financial sense’ and would be ‘mid-single digit earnings per share enhancing post-completion,’ ahead of results for the year ended 31 May 2023 on 26 September.

The broker forecasts pre-tax profits of £70.5 million, falling to £61.1 million for full year 2024 due to the impact of naira devaluation.

LEARN ABOUT PZ CUSSONS

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Issue Date: 05 Sep 2023