Hindustan Unilever Q1 net profit up 4% at Rs1,057 crore

Consumer goods major Hindustan Unilever Ltd has reported a 4-per cent increase in its April-June 2014-15 net profit at Rs1,057 crore and a 15 per cent year-on-year increase in after-tax profit at Rs1,020 crore for the quarter.

The company attributed the growth in net profit to exceptional items - high property sales and tax credit in base quarter.

Profit before interest and tax (PBIT) grew by 23 per cent and PBIT margin improved by 130 bps. The results of the quarter include a one-time credit of about Rs32 crore on account of adjustments for unutilised pension corpus relating to earlier periods.

The net profit included higher exceptional income arising from the sale of properties and tax credits in the base quarter, the company said in a statement.

Profit after tax before exceptional items was up 15 per cent at Rs1,020 crore.

Sales were up 11 per cent at Rs7,570 crore in the quarter as compared to Rs6,687 crore in the year-ago period.

''We continue to grow ahead of our markets and have delivered another quarter of strong top and bottom-line performance. While we are seeing headwinds on market growth, consumer spending and inflation, we remain focused on managing the business for long term competitive and profitable growth and implementing our strategy with even greater rigor,'' said Harish Manwani, chairman of HLL.

Hindustan Unilever said its domestic consumer business grew at 13 per cent, ahead of market, with 6 per cent underlying volume growth across all segments.

The soaps and detergents division recorded double-digit growth with a step-up in price growth as judicious pricing actions were taken to manage input cost inflation, HLL stated.

Personal products also recorded strong growth in a challenging environment, while colour cosmetics maintained its high growth momentum across product lines, with Lakme continuing to strengthen its position in premium make up driven by exciting and contemporary innovations.

In beverages, tea delivered a strong volume led performance, driven by strengthened brand equities and focused in-market activities while in packaged foods, Kissan, Knorr, Kwality Walls and Magnum grow in double digit.

Pureit delivered double digit growth, led by the solid performance of premium devices. The initial response to Pureit Ultima, which was launched in the last quarter with superior functionality and aesthetics, has been very encouraging.

The operating environment remained challenging with market growth further slowing down. Overall competitive activity remained high despite the lower media intensity in the quarter.

The HUL stock was trading up 3.10 per cent at Rs682.55 on the BSE at 3.10 pm.