HLL's quarterly profit up 7%

Thursday, 30 January 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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Hindustan Lever Ltd., Wednesday said its October-December quarterly profit rose seven percent over the previous year, thanks to cost cutting and rise in the sale of main brands.

NEW DELHI: The company's net profit for the quarter ended December 31, 2002, touched 4.66 billion, up from 4.36 billion logged in the October-December quarter of fiscal 2001-02, said a Hindustan Lever statement issued to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Hindustan Lever, the Indian arm of Unilever, said profit in the quarterly period was driven by its 30 power brands, including Lux soap, Close-up toothpaste, Wheel detergent and Fair & Lovely skin cream.

The company's sales in the October-December quarter, however, dropped 2.3 percent from a year ago to 26.34 billion, as a severe drought in several part of the country hurt demand.

"In 2002, we vigorously pursued our strategy of strengthening our brands to deliver sustainable quality growth in the face of intense competition, a sluggish economy and declining market," said M.S. Banga, chairman of Hindustan Lever Ltd.

Sales of Hindustan Lever's home and personal care products segment, which houses most of its power brands and accounts for a large chunk of revenue, grew by six percent during the quarter.

Food sales, however, declined 17 percent in the quarter, while beverages declined 14.7 percent. The two businesses account for about 20 percent of the company's revenue.

In the year ended December 31, 2002, Hindustan Lever posted a net profit of 17.55 billion, a growth of seven percent over 16.41 billion in 2001, said the company statement.
Source: IANS

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