NEW DELHI: Hindustan Unilever, the largest fast-moving consumer goods maker in the country, has reported healthy earnings for the fourth quarter that ended in March 2021 with net profit rising 41 percent to Rs 2,143 crore over the year-ago period and revenue growing 35 percent to Rs 12,132 crore.
Its volume growth stood at 16 percent in the reported quarter driven by robust growth across segments. The Health, hygiene, and nutrition segment, forming 80 percent of the business, saw double-digit growth for the third consecutive quarter, while out-of-home and discretionary categories improved sequentially, HUL said.
“Despite challenging times, in FY21 our business ecosystem has withstood the disruption and demonstrated agility and resilience across the value chain. Our focus firmly remains behind delivering volume-led competitive growth,” said HUL chairman and managing director Sanjiv Mehta.
On the impact of the ongoing wave of COVID-19, Mehta said, “As far as underlying offtake and consumption is concerned it is too early to comment on impact…Supply chains are running, even in places where there is localised lockdown, stores are opening… Rural growth had held up for now”.
Admitting that the second wave is a cause of concern, Mehta said the impact this year will not be as adverse as last year. However, some demand impact is likely due to mobility-related issues in the last two weeks, he added
HUL has boosted its supply chain capacity by 30 percent over the last year. This was mostly done by adding on 30 new third-party contract manufacturers to de-risk manufacturing from local disruptions. The Shikhar app has now crossed five lakh outlets from the earlier one lakh. The app allows retailers to order directly from the company. Other income fell considerably to Rs 109 crore in Q4FY21, compared to Rs 266 crore in the year-ago period. At the operating level, HUL reported a 44.9 percent year-on-year growth in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization) at Rs 3,043 crore and 170 bps expansion in the margin at 24.5 percent for the March quarter.
Category-wise, home care revenues grew 15 percent led by a strong recovery in Vim brand and fabric wash; Beauty & personal care business registered a healthy 20 percent growth with skin cleansing, hair care, and oral care delivering high double-digit growth; Food & refreshments segment grew at 36 percent in the reported quarter.
“Ketchups, soups, and ice creams also performed well with double-digit growths. Ice Creams recovery in the quarter was aided by multiple product innovations. Nutrition volumes grew in double digits and we launched Rs 2 sachets in Horlicks and Boost,” HUL said.