The ongoing slowdown has hit the financial performance of India’s largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL). On 5.9 per cent sales growth to Rs 3,988 crore for quarter ended March 2009, the company saw its profits rise by just 3.7 per cent to Rs 395 crore.
“Going forward, our approach will be business as usual on growth and business unusual on costs,” said Harish Manwani, chairman HUL. The challenge, he added, would be “to manage shorter execution cycles”. The company also admitted that as per research carried out by commissioned agencies, it observed a market share loss in the ‘skin cleansing’ category.
The company’s personal products and processed foods business was hit by the closure of 1,200 retail outlets, said Nitin Paranjpe, CEO and managing director, HUL. Its home and personal care segment clocked a growth of 11.5 per cent while the foods segment rose 13.2 per cent. While the company grew in business in value terms, its volumes shrank by 4.2 per cent.
HUL, however, continued to invest in its brands, with media spends up 27 per cent.