FMCG major HUL on Friday said that it would increase soaps prices by up to 6 per cent in a phased manner to offset the rising cost of palm oil. According to HUL Chief Financial Officer Srinivas Phatak, prices of palm oil in the last six months have gone up by 25 to 30 per cent.
"We would take the prices up in the soap part of our portfolio. We would be looking to price up between 5 to 6 per cent and they would come in a phased manner," Phatak said in a post-earnings conference call.
"We are being judicious and being calibrated," he said, adding "for skin cleansing, we are taking up prices."
Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) is the leader in the soap category and owns popular brands like Dove, Lux, Lifebuoy, Pears, Hamam, Lyril and Rexona.
However, he added that HUL is watching prices of other commodities and food prices continue to be "volatile", while there has been a clear uptick in palm oil prices.
"We have also seen uptick (in) prices in dairy and we are examining all these," he said, adding that HUL would look at pricing appropriately while maintaining its "competitiveness".
HUL on Friday reported an increase of 12.95 per cent in net profit to Rs 1,631 crore for the December quarter, while net sales rose 3.87 per cent to Rs 9,953 crore.
HUL CMD Sanjiv Mehta said:"This quarter witnessed an overall challenging market environment, mainly reflecting a sharp slowdown in rural and discretionary spends."
Phatak added that growth was moderate over many quarters.
However, he added that due to several measures taken, there would be "uptick in due course" but the current outlook stands "sluggish".