New Delhi: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.

Officials said the company was always conscious of managing the “price-volume equation" and that it would be judicious when it came to price hikes, given the competitive intensity that exists in the country.

A 10% volume growth compares favourably with 11% growth in last year’s December quarter though brokerage ICICI Securities had expected the same to come in at 11.6%. Volume growth is a good benchmark of the demand for HUL’s products minus the price hikes.

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