FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) has reported a 5.7% decline in its consolidated net profit at ₹2,406 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2024, as against ₹2,552 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year.

The company's revenue in the March quarter stood at ₹15,210 crore as against ₹15,215 crore in the corresponding period of FY23.

The company, which owns brands such as Horlicks, Dove and Pepsodent, witnessed a 1% decline in its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) at ₹3,535 crore in the March quarter, as against ₹3,574 crore in the Q4 of FY23. The FMCG firm’s EBITDA margin, however, grew by 40 basis points in Q4 at 23.8%, as against 23.4% in the corresponding period of the previous year. It expects EBITDA margin to continue to remain the same in the coming quarters. 

Segment-wise, HUL’s home care products clocked ₹5,709 crore in revenue, up 1.2% as against ₹5,637 crore in the March quarter of FY23. “Both Fabric Wash and Household Care grew volumes in mid-single digits driven by strong performance in the premium portfolio. The category continued to witness YoY price decline on account of actions taken during the year,” says HUL.

The company’s revenue from foods and refreshment products stood at ₹3,910 crore, up 3% as against ₹3,794 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year. “Foods & Refreshment had a USG of 4% with flat volume growth. Functional Nutritional Drinks (Horlicks & Boost) delivered high-single-digit growth driven by the Plus range. Tea continued to strengthen value and volume market leadership. The category continued to witness consumers downgrading to loose tea. Coffee delivered double-digit growth driven by pricing. Foods grew in the mid-single digits led by strong performance in Soups and Food solutions. Mayonnaise and Peanut Butter continue to gain consumer traction. Ice Cream grew in double digits led by volumes. An exciting range of innovations including Cadbury crackle feast, American nuts and Mango Duet were launched ahead of the upcoming ice-cream season,” says the company.

 The company’s revenue from beauty and personal care brands, however, stood at ₹5,125 crore, declining by 2.5% as against ₹5,257 crore in the Q4 of FY23.  “Beauty & Personal Care continued to witness its premium portfolio growing ahead of the rest. Overall, the segment had a USG of -2% with flat volumes. Hair care delivered volume-driven high-single-digit growth led by outperformance in Dove and Tresemme. Skin care and colour cosmetics grew in the low-single-digit. Premium skincare continued its strong double-digit growth trajectory led by innovations in new demand spaces and formats. Skin cleansing declined due to the impact of price cuts coupled with a drop in volumes in the mass and popular segments while body wash continued to do well. Oral care saw a double-digit broad-based growth driven by pricing. A range of innovations under Lakme cosmetics, sun-care products under Glow and Lovely, Ponds and Lakme skin, and sensitive skin cleansing range by Dove were launched in the quarter,” says the company.

The company has announced a final dividend of ₹24 per share, subject to the approval of shareholders. Together with the interim dividend of ₹18 per share, the total dividend for the year amounts to ₹42 per share.

“In FY’24 we delivered a resilient performance with 3% USG and crossed ₹10,000 crores Net Profit mark. We remain focused on driving operational excellence and have continued to build back our gross margins whilst stepping up investment in brands and long-term capabilities. Looking forward, I am optimistic of consumer demand gradually improving due to a normal monsoon and better macro-economic indicators,” says Rohit Jawa, CEO and Managing Director, HUL.

The company says that in the near term, FMCG demand will continue to improve gradually. The FMCG major is optimistic about the mid-term impact of better monsoons, and improving macro-economic indicators. The company, however, expects price growth to be low-single-digit negative “if commodity prices remain where they are.”

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