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Over the hump now in India in terms of economy, market growth: Unilever

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever said its India business did well during the July-September quarter as pick-up in economic activity after a strict lockdown helped the company with sales of hygiene and food and refreshment products.

On Thursday, Unilever said underlying sales rose 4.4% year-on-year as it reported strong than expected growth in the third quarter. Sales in emerging markets rose 5.3% compared to the previous year, while in developed markets they rose 3.1%, according to a news report by Reuters.

Its India unit, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, announced its September quarter earnings earlier this week—net profit rose around 9% y-o-y to ₹2,009 crore in the September quarter. Overall growth stood at 3% on a like-to-like basis in the during the period compared to a 7% decline in the June quarter.

“In India you know about the market, we just saw from HUL, there has been a pickup in economic activity and the marketplace in India after a very strong lockdown in the first half. And, you know, looks like we are over the hump now in India in terms of the economy and the market growth numbers. Our business in India did really well to grow single-digits this quarter. That again was driven by hygiene products and our food and refreshment portfolio in India…” the company’s top management said in a post earnings call led by Alan Jope, chief executive officer and Graeme Pitkethly, the company’s chief financial officer.

In India too, HUL’s top management had said that economic outlook has improved given the various initiatives taken by the government and Reserve Bank of India.

The maker of Dove soaps and Knorr soups benefitted from strong sales in rural markets. “In our sector, rural markets have been resilient but the demand in urban India especially in metropolitan cities has been muted. We believe that the worst is behind us and we are cautiously optimistic on demand recovery,” Sanjiv Mehta, chairman and managing director, HUL, had said in a press statement earlier this week.

Several large global FMCG companies announced earnings this week giving a peak into the consumption uptick in certain categories.

Reckitt Benckiser reported record additions to its Harpic brand here. Coca-Cola said while volumes in Asia Pacific dropped led by India and Japan, the markets were making “meaningful improvement”. Nestle said its local unit reported mid-single-digit growth for the third quarter.
Source: Live Mint

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