Top Companies Report

19. PZ Cussons

August 11, 2011

United Kingdom

Sales: $1.2 billion

Key Personnel:

Richard Harvey, chairman; Alex Kanellis, chief executive officer; Chris Davis, commercial director; Brandon Leigh, finance director; John Pantelireis, supply chain director.

Major Products:

Personal care and toiletries—Imperial Leather, Joy, Cussons Baby, Premier, Carex, Venus, Original Source, Charles Worthington, St Tropez (acquisition). Household products—Morning Fresh, Elephant, Radiant, Robb and Duck. Spa services—Sanctuary Spa.

New Products:

Robb Junior, Robb Super Intense Heat, Robb Tarzan Herbal; line extensions for Morning Fresh, Radiant and Duo and Imperial Leather Skin Kind.


Sales fell 1.3% for the year ended May 31, 2010. However, net profit rose 28.4% to nearly $101 million.

According to the company, there was an increase in profitability across Australia, Indonesia and the Middle East, as well as strong growth in UK profitability delivered through an effective brand renovation program. There was continued progress in Poland through a particular focus on personal washes. Plus, there was a good start to the year in Greece, although trading in the second half became more difficult due to the deteriorating economic environment.

In September 2010, PZ Cussons Plc acquired St Tropez Holdings Limited from UK private equity group LDC in a $98.8 million cash deal. St Tropez is the UK’s leading sunless tanning product range consisting of lotions, mousses, sprays and other products. More than 80% of St Tropez’s sales are within the UK with Australia and the US also growing markets for the brand. Distribution in the UK is mainly via Boots, Superdrug, Debenhams, Sainsbury’s, House of Fraser and John Lewis, as well as through major salons, according to Cussons. The St Tropez retail range comprises approximately 30 products organized across self-tan, gradual tan and wash off varieties, complemented by tan optimizing products. All manufacturing is outsourced to third parties, according to Cussons.

“The acquisition of the St. Tropez brand represents an excellent strategic opportunity for PZ Cussons and further strengthens our portfolio of masstige brands which includes The Sanctuary and Charles Worthington,” said Alex Kanellis, chief executive of PZ Cussons Plc. “We see good growth opportunities, both in the UK and overseas, particularly by linking the strategy to that of The Sanctuary spa brand.”

The Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden officially opened its doors more than a year ago, marking the first city Sanctuary Spa outside London. Experts such as The Sanctuary’s medical consultant Dr. Elizabeth Wilkinson, and representatives from skin care brands Carita and Environ, were on hand at the grand opening. New doors in Richmond and Bristol were also opened.

In December 2010, former East Enders actress Nadia Sawalha joined Carex, PZ Cussons’ UK handwash brand, for its latest campaign aimed at moms. The new “More Time On Our Hands” promotion highlighted the soap’s new faster acting formula. In February, the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Charity Foundation initiated a project on handwashing with soap in the country, and PZ Cussons backed the effort with a $34 million donation as well as detergents.

One of the bigger news items of the year, however, for the company was that PZ Cussons formed the PZ Cussons Beauty Division, a strategic move designed to maximize the potential, both in the UK and internationally, of its portfolio of premium beauty brands St Tropez, The Sanctuary and Charles Worthington.

Michelle Feeney, chief executive officer of St Tropez, was appointed to the new position of CEO of PZ Cussons Beauty, bringing to the role both extensive experience, and a history of delivering growth.
She will report to Alex Kanellis, group chief executive of PZ Cussons, and will be supported by managing directors Ann Murray (UK) and Selma Terzic (International), who have held lead roles in the Group’s Sanctuary and St Tropez businesses, respectively.

The division is based in Covent Garden, London. PZ Cussons UK will be responsible for the group’s core washing and bathing portfolio, including Imperial Leather, Original Source and Carex.

Scents created by PZ Cussons’ specialist fragrance business, Seven are being used as an integral part of a number of unique multi-sensory performances at this year’s Manchester International Festival.

Launched by PZ Cussons as a stand-alone business in May 2010, Seven Scent Ltd has more than 25 years of experience in supplying fragrance to global markets.

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