New Delhi: Hindustan Unilever, which entered the water purifier segment over a decade ago with a mass market offering, is driving its water purifier portfolio towards premiumization, top company officials told mediapersons on Thursday. The company is phasing out the models in the low-cost gravity segment as part of the exercise. The company had called for a press conference to discuss its December quarter earnings.

“In water purifiers, we are realigning our portfolio strategy towards premium devices while phasing out the gravity segment," a company release posted by the company on micro blogging site Twitter said. HUL markets its purifiers under the ‘Pureit brand. It offers air purifiers also under the same brand name.

A gravity water purifier is a cheaper solution to clean water of impurities and does not need electricity to operate. Most such purifiers come for less than 5,000 whereas premium offerings come for well over 10,000.

Water purifier is 3,500 crore market in India and has several competitors including Kent, LG, Tata Swach, Havells, Bajaj, Forbes Aquaguard and AO Smith.

Robust volume growth of 10% and selective price hikes propelled the December quarter net profit of Hindustan Unilever, the maker of Dove soaps and Sunsilk shampoos, 9% year-on-year to 1,444 crore on a standalone basis. The company said it expected demand to be stable in the near term.

Revenues from sale of products at the largest listed fast-moving consumer goods company in India came in at 9,357 crore, up 12.4%.

The company undertook price hikes to the tune of 2-3%, the company’s management told mediapersons during a press conference. Detergents and skin care categories had seen price hikes during the quarter. Domestic consumer growth was 13%, the company officials said.

Margins at the level of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization came in at 21.4%, an improvement of 170 basis points. In absolute terms, EBITDA was 2,046 crore, rising by a healthy 22%. The company said it was focused on volume growth and improving margins.

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