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Family Business Roundup: PZ Cussons, Antofagasta and Swatch

PZ Cussons cleaning up despite £12m currency drop; Antofagasta share price drops despite higher output; Swatch shares increase following iWatch rumours

PZ Cussons cleaning up despite £12m currency drop; Antofagasta share price drops despite higher output; Swatch shares increase following iWatch rumours

PZ Cussons cleaning up despite £12m currency drop

British soap and shampoo manufacturer PZ Cussons posted a profit of £115 million (€144 million) for the year ending May 2014 ­– a rise of 7% on 2013.

The Manchester-based firm – controlled by the Zochonis family – increased its profits despite a weakened currency causing an overall revenues drop of 2.5%.

The firm also announced the acquisition of Rafferty’s Garden, an Australian children’s food business, and the sale of their Polish Home Care brand in order to focus on high growth areas.

PZ Cussons was founded in the 1879 and made the unusual transition from services to manufacturing. It is one of three UK-listed businesses to have increased dividends consistently for 28 years.

"Our balance sheet remains strong and we have the appetite to pursue further investment opportunities which fit our strategic aims,” chairman Richard Harvey said.

Antofagasta share price drops despite higher output

Share prices at Chilean mining firm Antofagasta, owned by the Luksic family, slid more than 4% this morning after the firm failed to hit market expectations.

The FTSE-100 company said it was on track to meet the year’s estimated 700,000 tons of copper output, but higher costs and poor performance in the first quarter convinced analysts to downgrade their expectations.

Antofagasta said copper production was up 5.5% on the previous quarter, reaching 178,000 tons, but three months of maintenance work in the first quarter severely hindered output.

Gold production reached 67,000 ounces in the second quarter, the firm said in their Q2 production report, up 18% thanks to higher throughput at the mine.

Second-gen Antofagasta chairman Jean-Paul Luksic Fontbona said he expects a period of consolidation for the company after experiencing growth over the last few years.

In March, the mining company posted a 30% fall in full-year earnings to $2.7 billion, with record levels of copper production offset by higher costs and decreasing metal prices.

Swatch shares increase following iWatch rumours

Share prices at Swiss family-controlled watchmaker Swatch jumped 4.2% this week after rumours of a collaboration with Apple.

A report from tech website Venture Beat suggested the duo would partner on one of two “iWatches”, which caused share prices at the second-generation company, controlled by the Hayek family, to reach their highest level in five months.

Apple reportedly plans to release its first generation smartwatch in the fourth quarter, according to the New York Times.

A forecast from RBC Capital Markets predicted a Swatch/Apple iWatch could add as much as $11 billion to Swatch’s annual sales, doubling their current revenue which sits around $10 billion.

Swatch denied the rumours in an email statement, but industry analysts believe an official announcement could come soon.

Swatch was founded by Nicholas Hayek in 1983. It is now headed by his daughter, Nayla, who is chairwoman, and his son, Nick, who is chief executive.


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