Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL) reported a 21 per cent growth in its standalone net profit for the fourth quarter of 2011-12 at Rs.686.61 crore against Rs.569.2 crore in the year-ago period despite inflationary pressures from rising commodity and input costs. According to a company statement, net sales for the quarter grew 15.7 per cent to Rs.5,660.48 crore from Rs.4,893.67 crore. Domestic consumer business grew 20 per cent with growth split equally between volume and price-led growth. The operating profit grew by 32 per cent to Rs.776.32 crore from Rs.586.57 crore.

Rs.4 final dividend

The board of directors has proposed a final dividend of Rs.4 per share for the year. Together with the interim dividend of Rs.3.5 per share, the total dividend for the year amounts to Rs.7.5 per share.

Addressing a press conference, R. Sridhar, Chief Financial Officer, said, “During the quarter, for the first time, foods business crossed the Rs.1,000-crore turnover and we managed to limit the increase in the cost of goods to 80 basis points. The FMCG market will continue to grow but we see headwinds and tailwinds.” For 2011-12, the company reported a 17 per cent higher net profit at Rs.2,691 crore against Rs.2,306 crore in 2010-11 on broad-based growth across all segments. Net sales grew 18 per cent to Rs.21,735.6 crore from Rs.18,451 crore.

Nitin Paranjpe, MD & CEO, said, “The FMCG market has grown in mid-teens but we grew ahead of the market. We are seeing the impact of inflation in many areas over many months but consumer demand has remained resilient. There has been some impact of commodity cost inflation in soaps and detergents where growth has been price-led but ahead of the market. We expect it to grow in double digits although in personal products, the 17 per cent growth has been entirely volume-led.”

On the global demand scenario, Harish Manwani, Chairman, told reporters that “In the developed world, markets are challenged and unsettled in terms of economic growth, particularly Europe and to some extent the U.S. In developing countries, markets are growing and hopefully, we will see a global recovery. While emerging markets continue to grow, in a large number of them, growth rates have declined. In India, even if the GDP growth is not as earlier, we are fortunate that growth is there and demand is robust.”

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