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Despite price cuts, HUL Q3 volume growth at 3%

This is lower than 4-5% number company saw in last three quarters

Viveat Susan Pinto  |  Mumbai 

Hindustan Unilever's stellar run at the stock markets in the run-up to its third quarter remained a non-event after the company declared its numbers today.

Net sales grew 8% for the quarter to Rs 7,579 crore with under lying volume growth at 3%. This was way below analysts estimates, who had pegged HUL's volume growth between 5-7% in the run-up to the

HUL's run on the bourses over the last two weeks was led by this anticipation in volume recovery, which clearly couldn't be seen today.

Net profit, in contrast, was better, growing 18% to Rs 1,252 crore for the quarter on the back of one-time gains. But profit before exceptional items gave the true picture, it was flat as HUL grappled with higher tax rates and fiscal benefits coming off during the period, the company's CFO P Balaji said.

Barring packaged foods which grew 13%, soaps & detergents and personal products grew 7% each, while beverages grew 9%, implying that the slowdown pangs continued to be felt across categories. The HUL management insisted the slowdown was bottoming out highlting the next quarter would be better.

"Volume growth for the market was merely one% and value growth five%. Against this backdrop, we were ahead of the market, " HUL MD Sanjiv Mehta said.

HUL's Ebitda margins were up only 10 basis points as advertising and sales promotion expenditure increased by Rs 48 crore to touch 12.9% of sales for the quarter.

HUL's stock price was down 5.27% on the Bombay Stock Exchange today to close trade at Rs 892.80 per unit. It began trade at Rs 940%, but collapsed after the were announced.

HUL: FY14/15 Quarterly Performance
Q1FY14 Q1FY15 % Change Q2FY14 Q2FY15 % Change Q3FY14 Q3FY15 %Change
Net Sales 6,687.49 7,570.78 13.20 6,747.20 7,465.54 10.60 7,037.78 7,579.18 7.70
Net Profit 1,019.25 1,056.85 3.70 913.80 988.16 8.10 1,062.31 1,252.17 17.90
Source: Capitaline
Compiled by BS Research Bureau

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First Published: Mon, January 19 2015. 18:02 IST