FMCG major Hindustan Unilever on April 29 reported healthy and better-than-expected earnings for the quarter ended March 2021. Consolidated profit rose 44.8 percent year-on-year (YoY) to Rs 2,190 crore versus Rs 1,512 crore in the year-ago, driven by strong growth across segments.
Consolidated revenue from operations climbed 35 percent YoY to Rs 12,433 crore in Q4 FY21, with domestic consumer growth (excluding the impact of merger of GSK Consumer Healthcare and acquisition of 'VWash') at 21 percent with underlying volume growth of 16 percent, which was ahead of CNBC-TV18 poll estimates that was pegged it at 14-15 percent.
Volume growth in December quarter 2020 was at 4 percent but contracted 7 percent in March quarter 2021.
"Health, hygiene and nutrition forming 80 percent of business grew in double-digits for the third consecutive quarter, while discretionary and out-of-home categories improved sequentially," said the company in its BSE filing.
According to the average estimates of analysts polled by CNBC-TV18, profit was estimated at Rs 1,975 crore on revenue of Rs 12,020 crore for the quarter.
"Our in-quarter performance was strong on both the topline and bottomline. Despite challenging times, in FY21 our business ecosystem has withstood the disruption and demonstrated agility and resilience across the value chain. We have delivered on our multi stakeholder business model. Our focus firmly remains behind delivering volume led competitive growth," said Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director.
The recent surge in COVID cases is of serious concern and ensuring the safety and well-being of people remains the top priority, he added.
Other income fell considerably to Rs 109 crore in Q4FY21, compared to Rs 266 crore in the year-ago period.
At the operating level, HUL reported a 44.9 percent year-on-year growth in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) at Rs 3,043 crore and 170 bps expansion in margin at 24.5 percent for the March quarter, which was also ahead of the CNBC-TV18 poll estimates that was pegged at Rs 2,925 crore and 24.3 percent respectively.
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"We continue to invest behind brands and portfolio, and in future-fit capabilities. Our focused actions on net revenue management and savings have enabled us to manage inflationary pressures and deliver a healthy bottomline performance," HUL said.
Beauty & personal care business registered a healthy 19.7 percent year-on-year growth at Rs 4,549 crore with earnings before interest & tax (EBIT) rising 32.5 percent to Rs 1,252 crore in Q4FY21. "Skin cleansing, hair care and oral care delivered high double-digit growth," said HUL in its BSE filing.
Home care business revenue in Q4 grew by 14.6 percent to Rs 3,838 crore with EBIT rising 27.7 percent to Rs 812 crore compared to the year-ago quarter, by a strong recovery in fabric wash.
"Household care continued its strong performance delivering double-digit growth. Liquids and fabric sensations continue to outperform benefitting from robust market development initiatives," said HUL.
Food & refreshments segment reported a stunning 96.4 percent year-on-year growth at Rs 3,511 crore in Q4 and its EBIT increased 2.5-fold to Rs 575 crore during the quarter.
"All our tea brands continue to grow in high double-digits. Ketchups, soups and ice creams also performed well with double-digit growths. Ice Creams recovery in the quarter was aided by multiple product innovations. Nutrition volumes grew in double digits and we launched Rs 2 sachets in Horlicks and Boost," HUL said.
In the financial year FY21, the COVID year, consolidated profit grew by 18.4 percent to Rs 7,999 crore and revenue increased 18.2 percent to Rs 47,028 crore compared to the previous year. "We managed COVID challenges well and sustained strong cash generation," HUL said.
The company recommended a final dividend of Rs 17 per share for the financial year ended March 2021.