Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 30 (ANI): India's largest fast-moving consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) on Thursday reported a profit after tax of Rs 1,519 crore for the January to March quarter (Q4 FY20), down one per cent compared to Rs 1,538 crore in the corresponding period of last year.
But more significantly, the underlying volume growth declined by 7 per cent with domestic consumer growth dipping by 9 per cent to Rs 8,885 crore in Q4 FY20 from Rs 9,809 crore in Q4 FY19.
"The spread of COVID 19 impacted the business from mid-March, which culminated into scaling down of operations post the national lockdown," the company said in a statement.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin reduced by 40 basis points (160 bps reduction on comparable basis after adjusting for accounting impact.
"In this challenging economic context, HUL performance has been competitive with corporate market share gains," it said.
The board of directors has proposed a final dividend of Rs 14 per share. Together with the interim dividend of Rs 11 per share, the total dividend for the financial year ending March 31 amounts to Rs 25 per share, marking an increase of 14 per cent.
"COVID-19 is perhaps the biggest challenge for us -- both from the lens of sustaining lives as well as livelihoods," said Chairman and Managing Director Sanjiv Mehta.
"The human impact of the pandemic is uncertain, and we are fully committed to working with the government and our partners to ensure that we overcome this crisis together," he said.
HUL said its portfolio of brands, financial stability and quality of leadership teams positions it well to deal with the crisis and for the changing world that will come afterwards.
"With the GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare merger effective from April 1, iconic brands like Horlicks and Boost will now enable us to also address the nutrition needs of consumers. Our approach will be to protect our business model, grow competitively and contribute to the nation," it said.
HUL said it is currently operating at about 70 per cent of normative levels and are hopeful to improve this in the coming days. In this hour of need, it has ramped up capacities in key categories such as sanitisers and handwash.
It is also operating with shorter planning cycles, stepping up agility and building resilience in the supply chain.
"Demand patterns are changing and we are likely to see an upswing in categories like health, hygiene and nutrition. In the near term, we are also likely to see some adverse impact on discretionary categories and out of the home channel," said HUL.