Calcutta, Oct. 26: Hindustan Unilever’s (HUL) second-quarter profit rose 13.24 per cent to Rs 913.80 crore from Rs 806.92 crore in the corresponding period last year. Net sales grew 9.61 per cent to Rs 6,747.20 crore during the quarter from Rs 6,155.41 crore.
The company said a volatile cost environment, largely led by the rupee depreciation and heightened competition, posed a challenge during the quarter. However, HUL will continue to strengthen its businesses by driving innovation and investing in brands, it added.
The company operates across segments such as soaps and detergents, personal products, beverages and packaged foods. Total expenses for the quarter shot up 8.9 per cent to Rs 5,871.25 crore from Rs 5,391.76 crore.
For the half year ended September 30, HUL’s net sales stood at Rs 13,434.69 crore, a growth of 8.29 per cent over Rs 12,405.56 crore a year ago. However, net profit registered a dip of 9.6 per cent to Rs 1,933.05 crore from Rs 2,138.11 crore.
“We have delivered another quarter of competitive and profitable growth. The consistency and resilience of our performance, in what has been a challenging market environment for some quarters now, is a reflection of the discipline with which we are managing our business and executing our strategy,” said Harish Manwani, chairman of HUL.
“We have been talking about slowdown in the market growth and that has continued in this quarter, both in volume growth as well as in value,” HUL chief financial officer R. Sridhar said.
HUL said its domestic consumer business grew 10 per cent, ahead of the market, driven by a 5 per cent underlying volume growth.
The soaps and detergents segment grew 6 per cent with skin cleansing products registering their fourth successive quarter of double-digit volume growth. It saw deflation from measures taken earlier in the year to pass on the benefit of lower commodity costs to consumers.
“We continue to strengthen our business for the long term by driving innovation, investing in our brands and further building organisational capabilities,” he said.
Beverages grew 16 per cent with tea leading the pack based on a price-led growth and high volumes. Packaged food grew 9 per cent with accelerating growth coming in from Kissan and Kwality Walls. The HUL board today declared an interim dividend of Rs 5.50 per equity share of face value of Re 1 each for the financial year ending March 31, 2014.
The record date for determining the entitlement for the dividend has been fixed at November 1, 2013 and the dividend will be paid to the shareholders on or after November 15, 2013.