FMCG giant Hindustan Unilever on April 30 reported a profit of Rs 1,519 crore in the fourth quarter, registering a 1.2 percent decline YoY due to the lockdown in the second half of March.
The standalone profit in the same period last year was at Rs 1,538 crore.
Revenue for the March quarter dropped 9.4 percent year-on-year to Rs 9,011 crore due to a decline in volumes.
HUL reported a 7 percent decline in underlying volume growth in the quarter against 7 percent growth in Q4FY19 and 5 percent growth in Q3FY20.
"The spread of COVID-19 impacted the business from mid-March, which culminated into scaling down of operations post the national lockdown. Domestic consumer growth declined by 9 percent with a decline of 7 percent in underlying volume growth," HUL said in its BSE filing.
For FY20, HUL's domestic consumer growth was 2 percent, with an underlying volume growth of 2 percent.
The numbers missed analysts' expectations. Profit was expected at Rs 1,800 on revenue of Rs 9,980 crore for the quarter, according to a CNBC-TV18 analysts' poll.
Operating numbers were also below estimates.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) dropped 11 percent year-on-year to Rs 2,065 crore and margin contracted 42 bps YoY to 22.9 percent for the quarter, against CNBC-TV18 estimates of Rs 2,555 crore and 25.6 percent, respectively.
"COVID-19 is perhaps the biggest challenge for us, both from the lens of sustaining lives as well as livelihoods. Our portfolio of trusted brands, financial stability and quality of leadership teams positions us well to deal with the crisis and, for the changing world that will come afterwards," Chairman and Managing Director Sanjiv Mehta said.
"With the GSK CH merger effective from April 1st, iconic brands such as Horlicks and Boost will now enable us to also address the nutrition needs of consumers."
HUL recently completed the merger of GSK Consumer.
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On the segment front, homecare business revenue fell 4.3 percent year-on-year to Rs 3,350 crore but its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 2.7 percent to Rs 636 crore in Q4FY20.
Revenue from beauty & personal care segment declined 13.5 percent to Rs 3,801 crore and its EBIT was down 22.5 percent at Rs 945 crore compared to the same quarter last year.
Foods and refreshment segment registered a 6.7 percent YoY degrowth in revenue at Rs 1,788 crore and a 35 percent fall in EBIT at Rs 225 crore in the March quarter.
"Demand patterns are changing, and we are likely to see an upswing in categories like health, hygiene and nutrition. In the near term, we are also likely to see some adverse impact on discretionary categories and out of home channel," HUL said.
Profit during the year grew by 11.6 percent to Rs 6,738 crore on revenue of Rs 38,785 crore that increased by 1.5 percent over the previous year.
HUL said it had a strong balance sheet and cash position. "However, we are systematically reviewing all areas of cash generation and usage and re-evaluating all costs in the prevailing circumstances, so that we can continue to invest towards the best opportunities. We continue to set a high ambition on savings opportunities across the value chain."
The company declared a final dividend of Rs 14 for the financial year 2019-20, taking the total dividend of the year to Rs 25 per share.
The stock has been an outperformer, reporting double-digit returns during the March quarter, FY20 as well as year-to-date, rising 19.5 percent, 34.7 percent and 18 percent, respectively. In comparison, the Nifty FMCG index fell 9.3 percent, 9.9 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.