HLL Q3 net down 2.9 %, below forecast

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 30 October 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Top consumer goods maker, Hindustan Lever Ltd reported on Thursday its quarterly profit fell 2.9 per cent from a year earlier, falling below market expectations.

The company, which makes the popular Lux and Lifebuoy soaps, Surf detergent, Brooke Bond tea and Fair & Lovely skin lightening cream, said its profit was Rs 408 crore ($90.10 million) in the third quarter ended September 30. That compared with a reported net profit of Rs 420 crore a year earlier.

A survey of six analysts had forecast a median net profit of Rs 444 crore on sales of Rs 2460 crore.

The Indian affiliate of Anglo-Dutch Unilever Plc, which had faced slow consumer spending due to poor monsoons in the past few years as well as low-cost competition, is hoping its fortunes will turn as the economy booms and the best monsoons in a decade encourage rural consumption.

The company competes with the Indian arms of Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive and smaller local players like Nirma, Marico Industries and Godrej Consumer Products It is focusing on 30 key brands, mostly in the home and personal care segment, to drive revenues and profits.

To Wednesday's close of Rs 178, HLL's shares had lost 2.6 percent since the start of 2003, while the benchmark 30-issue Bombay Stock Exchange index rose 41 percent.

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