Volatile variability: Unilever India stresses caution for food business despite positive growth

HUL recently announced its Q2FY2023 financial results, reporting a 6.4% year-on-year revenue growth to INR153.3bn (US$1.85bn) and 8% year-on-year net profits growth to INR24.7bn (US$298.8mn).

Company executives described this achievement as a ‘resilient all-round performance’​, including in its Foods and Refreshment segment covering tea, coffee, health food drinks such as Horlicks and Boost, sauces and other food solutions, and ice cream, which saw 5% overall growth attributed to softening commodity prices and price adjustments.

That said, HUL CFO Ritesh Tiwari stressed that the company would remain cautious in terms of spending and growth strategies especially for the food business, as the near-term outlook is not yet a completely optimistic one.

“The situation on the weather front remains erratic - We have seen unseasonal rains, heatwave and a delayed monsoon plus El Nino has set in early, which could impact latter parts of the monsoon,”​ Tiwari told the floor during the most recent HUL investors meeting to announce the results.

“While the monsoon has picked up pace of late, spatial variations persist and we have seen unfortunate floods in parts of the country - Consequently, cropping especially of rice and pulses seem to have been impacted.

“Higher reservoir levels and better agri infrastructure should hopefully contain the impact [but] clearly, the operating environment remains volatile and we should be watchful of how these variables pan out.

“We should also continue to be mindful that consumers are still facing high levels of cumulative inflation [and] in this context, we will continue to manage our business with agility and take actions to ensure long-term 4G growth, growth which is consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible.”

This was seconded by new HUL CEO Rohit Jawa who recently assumed the office earlier this year, who said that recovery was on the way, albeit at a gradual pace.


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