New Delhi: Patanjali Ayurved Ltd’s scorching pace of growth, which had left rival packaged goods companies scurrying to defend their turf over the past few years, has stalled, with Baba Ramdev’s company saying sales was little changed in the year ended 31 March.

“We have closed the year around the same level as the previous fiscal year’s revenue," Acharya Balkrishna, managing director of Patanjali, said in an interview.

Baba Ramdev, the yoga guru-turned-businessman, had on 4 May 2017 said that Patanjali would continue to “double revenue every year" to cross Rs20,000 crore in the year ended March 2018 and subsequently would cross the annual revenue of India’s largest packaged goods company Hindustan Unilever Ltd by 31 March 2019.

“Lingering effects of the demonetisation and the implementation of goods and services tax (GST) impacted growth," Balkrishna said, adding that Patanjali will do better next year. “Besides, we invested our energy in developing infrastructure and supply chain during the year. This year, we focused on system development, and not just revenue growth."

Patanjali had reported revenue of Rs10,561 crore for the year ended 31 March 2017, more than double the Rs5,000 crore in the previous year.

Still, some analysts are asking whether Patanjali is approaching the limit of its long growth expansion. They attribute the slowdown in sales growth to rivals catching up with competing products and Patanjali’s inability to handle the expansion.

“Demonetisation and GST affected all packaged goods companies. Patanjali’s business was also impacted by intensifying competition, especially in the herbal personal care segment," said Abneesh Roy, an analyst with Edelweiss Securities.

Sachin Bobade, an analyst with Mumbai-based Dolat Capital Market, believes consumers of Patanjali, especially in the urban areas, shifted to other brands because of quality issues. “Besides, the company’s distribution and supply chain was not efficient enough to handle the volume. It expanded too fast. Also, there has not been much innovation. The company can’t grow beyond a point riding on just brand Ramdev," added Bobade.

Patanjali’s stagnant sales must be particularly galling for its promoters since they come at a time when other consumer packaged goods firms have done better. Hindustan Unilever on Monday reported a 2.2% increase in total sales for the year ended 31 March to Rs35,787 crore as its domestic consumer business (comparable, or post accounting adjustments) grew by 12% during the year.

Nestle India Ltd, which follows a January-December accounting year, had reported a 10.5% growth in sales in 2018 while Kolkata-based ITC Ltd said on Wednesday that its revenue from non-cigarette packaged goods grew by 11.3% (comparable) for the year ended 31 March 2018.

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