Today’s update from consumer goods company PZ Cussons (LSE: PZC) is rather mixed. On the one hand, performance for the period 27 January to 13 April has been in line with expectations. On the other hand, the company’s main market, Nigeria, continues to act as a brake on its performance and challenges there have been offset during the period by impressive results in Europe and Asia.
In terms of the challenges in Nigeria, PZ Cussons states that a lack of availability of the country’s currency at the official exchange rate is causing the majority of dollars to be purchased at a premium of 50% to 70%. This is having a detrimental impact on costs, although they’re being managed through changes to relative pricing. However, with trading conditions remaining tough in Nigeria and consumer disposable income being under pressure, the company’s ability to offset rising costs may prove to be somewhat limited in future.
Despite this, PZ Cussons could prove to be a sound long-term buy. That’s because it offers a wide margin of safety since its shares are trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 17.1. For a high quality consumer goods company, this rating is relatively low and could rise if the company’s outlook in Nigeria improves. While this may not take place in the short run and PZ Cussons remains a relatively risky buy, for long-term investors it could deliver upbeat capital gains.
Turning on the profits tap
Also reporting today was showers, taps and bathroom accessories supplier Norcros (LSE: NXR), with it stating that operating profit for the year is expected to be marginally ahead of market expectations. The key reason for this is strong performance in the company’s UK division, with Norcros reporting sales growth of 9.3% that contributed to group revenue growth of 6.3%.
Clearly, the performance of Norcros’ South African division was somewhat disappointing, with sales being at the same level as last year due to a weaker South African Rand. However, on a constant currency basis, Norcros’ South African operations pulled their weight, with sales rising by 15% versus the prior year.
With Norcros trading on a P/E ratio of just 7.4, it appears to offer a very wide margin of safety. And with it forecast to increase net profit by 12% this year, its shares could prove to be a strong performer over the medium term.
Meanwhile, shares in Renold (LSE: RNO) have risen by around 15% today after the supplier of industrial chains and related power transmission products said that its full year results are now expected to be slightly ahead of previous forecasts. That’s partly because of self-help measures introduced by the company that have reduced costs, and also because of volatility affecting sales less than expected. As a result, Renold expects sales to be around 1% better than previous forecasts.
With Renold forecast to increase its bottom line by 17% in the next financial year, its shares trade on a price-to-earnings-growth (PEG) ratio of just 0.4. This indicates that they could be worth buying at the present time, although continued volatility in the company’s outlook means that it remains a relatively risky buy.