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Hindustan Unilever Q4 net up 21% at Rs 686.61 crore on robust demand

MUMBAI: Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) declared consumer demand across India to be ‘resilient’ and ‘robust’ as it posted a better-than-expected 20%-plus jump in quarterly sales and profits on Tuesday, sounding a rare note of hope amid a mostly grim economic commentary.

The country’s largest consumer goods company, whose presence in a range of daily consumption items such as soaps, shampoos and food makes its performance a good proxy for consumer sentiment, said it has not seen any evidence yet of customers trading down for cheaper products and that it had managed to grow volumes despite increasing prices in the fiscal fourth quarter.

“In India, we may not be growing the way we were in terms of GDP growth, but it is still good growth and demand is still robust,” said HUL’s chairman Harish Manwani after the company posted a 20.6% increase in net profit for the January-March 2012 quarter on a 20.4% rise in sales. His colleague and HUL’s India boss, Chief Executive Nitin Paranjpe added that consumer demand in the country was “quite resilient”.

“There were some consumers who were down-trading, but other consumers at the same point in time were up-trading. So one secular trend is up-trading, even in this scenario,” Paranjpe said, HUL said its domestic sales rose to Rs 5,494.60 crore from Rs 4,565.39 crore in the year-ago period, outperforming the broader FMCGindustry which grew 15% during the quarter.

Of the total underlying sales growth, 9.6 percentage points came from volume growth while price increase added to the rest, it said.

Net profit at the Indian unit of Unilever rose to Rs 686.61 crore in the three months to March compared with Rs 569.18 crore in the year-ago quarter, and the company said it was able to increase its operating profit margins (before interest and tax) by 170 basis points. Its cost of goods sold during the period was 80 basis points higher than in the year-ago period.

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Posted by on May 2 2012. Filed under Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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