MUMBAI: Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HLL), the country’s biggest manufacturer of personal care products, said its net profit for the second quarter ended September 2014 rose by 8.4 per cent to Rs 988 crore compared with Rs 914 crore in the same period last year.
Its stocks fell 4.75 per cent as analysts and investors expected the company to report higher profits with a pickup in economic activities. Yet, its growth was tepid.
Its net sales grew by 10.6 per cent to Rs 7,465 crore (Rs 6,747 crore). Domestic consumer business grew by 10.4 per cent. Home and personal care business grew 10.7 per cent while foods business rose 9.4 per cent.
“In a low growth environment, our emphasis on market development and innovations have helped deliver another quarter of double-digit growth and a healthy improvement in operating margins,’’ said chairman, Harish Manwani.
“The consistency of our performance is a reflection of the discipline and rigor with which we are executing our strategy. We will continue to manage our business dynamically for sustained competitive and profitable growth.”
The impact of input cost inflation continued to be felt this quarter through higher consumption costs although commodities softened towards the end of the quarter, the company said.
The operating environment remains challenging with low market growth across categories. Brand investments were sustained at competitive levels across segments, albeit lower than an exceptionally high base quarter, it said.