Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has posted a 16% growth in reported turnover in its second quarter ended 30 September, which it described as ‘competitive and profitable’.
The Indian business of Unilever saw a domestic consumer growth of 3%, excluding the impact of the merger of GSK CH and acquisition of the VWash brand.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the quarter stood at Rs 2,869 crores, up 17 %.
The company’s board of directors declared an interim dividend of Rs 14 per share for its financial year ending 31 March 2021.
Chairman and managing director of HUL, Sanjiv Mehta, commented, “In the context of a challenging economic environment, our growth has been competitive and profitable. We continue to demonstrate execution prowess, agility, adaptability, resilience, and passion of our people.
“We have expanded our portfolio with consumer-relevant innovations and have invested strongly behind our brands. Our operations and service levels are now back to pre-COVID levels and we have accelerated the pace of digitizing our operations under the ‘Re-imagine HUL’ agenda.”
The company’s household care division reported strong performance across all segments driven by continued penetration gains.
In this period, HUL stepped up measures to address the ‘clean living’ needs of consumers, including the nationwide rollout of Domex cleaning products.
It also reduced the prices of laundry detergents to address a slump in consumption due to confined living.
In the beauty and personal care segment, the company witnessed double-digit growth in skin cleansing products backed by strong demand for Lifebuoy and Lux brands.
Oral care and hair care segments also reported double-digit growth.
Hand sanitisers and handwash segments continued to gain penetration and delivered robust growth, the company added.
The division’s ‘winter portfolio sell-in’ was impacted due to muted trade sentiment and constraints in liquidity.
The sales of food, tea and coffee sustained the high growth momentum and grew in double digits.
During the quarter, the company restored the disrupted supply lines for its nutrition business, which reported a competitive performance.
HUL’s ice creams, food solutions and vending businesses were impacted in this period due to out-of-home consumption loss.
‘The Worst Is Behind Us’
Mehta believes that the economic outlook has improved given the various initiatives taken by the government and Reserve Bank of India.
“In our sector, rural markets have been resilient but the demand in urban India, especially in metropolitan cities, has been muted. We believe that the worst is behind us and we are cautiously optimistic on-demand recovery,” he added.