Nestle India Q4 net marginally up at Rs282 cr

Nestle India Ltd, the local unit of the Swiss food giant Nestle SA,  has reported a marginal 1 per cent increase in its fourth quarter profit amidst slack demand for some of its confectionery, milk products and prepared dish brands.

Nestle India, which makes Maggi noodles and Kit-Kat chocolates, said its net profit for the October –December 2013 quarter rose to Rs281.7 crore in the quarter ended 31 December from Rs278.9 crore in the year earlier quarter.

Net sales for the quarter increased by 4.6 per cent to Rs2,252.3 crore.

Local sales grew 3.7 per cent, mainly on account of higher net realisation and change in product mix. Revenue from exports to affiliates bolstered the company's profit, as the segment saw a 21 per cent increase in revenue.

Etienne Benet, managing director of Nestle India, said, ''The growth dynamics in some core products and categories like Maggi Noodles, Nescafé and Kit Kat has compensated the headwinds in some of the other businesses.

''The economic environment remains unchanged and we expect the current pressure to continue, in particular on input costs,'' Benet added.

Benet said an overhaul in the company's product mix was underway.

The newly appointed chief executive of Nestle's local unit said that some ''tough decisions'' and ''swift adaptations'' will be undertaken by the company as it ''evolves its product portfolio, that is more focused on premium and value-up ranges, while protecting our current business base, as well as taking necessary decisions to gear up and make the organization more efficient to take on the current and future trade evolution and competitive challenges.''

Rising inflationary pressures have softened consumer demand, specially in urban areas, where consumers are either cutting down on discretionary spends or postponing purchases.