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Hindustan Unilever Q3 Profit falls 22.4 Per cent

... Livemint:

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), India’s largest consumer packaged goods maker, on Friday reported a 22.4% decline in net profit for the December quarter from a year ago, when it had benefited from a one-time gain.

HUL posted a net profit of Rs.971.40 crore in the three months ended 31 December, compared with Rs.1,252.17 crore in the year-ago period.

In October-December 2014, HUL’s net profit had received a boost because of a one-time gain of Rs.396.58 crore.

According to a Bloomberg survey of 12 analysts, HUL had been expected to report a net profit of Rs.1,030 crore, down 17% from a year ago.

Net sales for the October-December quarter stood at Rs.7,822.86 crore, up 3.2% from Rs.7,579.18 crore a year ago.

“During the quarter, turnover grew at 3% with 6% underlying volume growth. The growth in the quarter continued to be impacted by the phasing out of excise duty incentives and price degrowth, as the benefit of lower commodity costs was passed on to consumers,” HUL said in a statement.

Total expenses rose 8% from a year ago to Rs.1,488.26 crore. Brand investments were sustained at competitive levels and overall advertising and promotion spending was up Rs.160 crore, or 165 basis points, the company said in its release.

A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

“We have stepped up investment behind our brands and delivered another quarter of profitable volume-led growth, consistent with our strategic intent. In an environment of moderating growth and benign input costs, we remain focused on innovation and market development to drive volumes competitively whilst improving operating margins. As channels and markets evolve, we continue to make strategic interventions to strengthen our portfolio and sharpen our executional capabilities to serve our consumers even better,” said company chairman Harish Manwani.

On Friday, HUL’s shares closed 2.7% lower at Rs.804.15 on BSE, while the benchmark Sensex fell 1.28% to 24,455.04 points.

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