Consumer goods major Hindustan Unilever Ltd, the maker of detergent brand Rin, Dove soap and Fair and Lovely skin cream, on Monday announced a 15% year-on-year rise in net profit to Rs.787 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 against Rs.687 crore a year-ago, mainly on the back of robust sales across various business segments.
The news sent the company’s shares up 7% to Rs.498 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
“In a challenging environment, we have delivered broad-based competitive growth and margin improvement,” said Harish Manwani, chairman, HUL.
“While there are near-term concerns around slowing market growth and inflationary pressures on consumers, we are confident of the medium- to long-term growth prospects of the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) sector, and remain focussed on delivering consistent growth with sustainable operating margin improvement.”
The Indian unit of Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever Plc, which has already cut prices of some soaps and detergents by 15-18% over the past month to fight off competition from smaller domestic rivals like Rohit Surfactants, Bharti Soap Works and skincare firm Ayur Herbals, will likely deepen such discounts this year.
While the company’s domestic FMCG business grew 13% to Rs.6,127 crore during the January-March quarter, home and personal care segment grew 12.7% to Rs.4,961 crore and foods segment grew 15% to Rs.1,167 crore.