Unilever's Persil is an important client and, partly thanks to Persil Power, the controversial new washing powder, Hickson's most successful division managed a 92 per cent increase in profits for the six months to 30 June.
This made up for reduced contributions from Hickson's two other divisions, so overall pre-tax profits were flat at pounds 12m. Earnings ticked up to 5.6p from 4.8p and the dividend was held at 2.85p.
But if Power is withdrawn Hickson would lose a profitable supply contract. That fear was responsible for yesterday's 9p fall in the shares to 168p. The forward earnings multiple is an appropriately discounted 16 times and the yield, assuming a full-year payout maintained at 8p, is 6 per cent. This may not be all that cheap.Reuse content