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Hindustan Unilever Personal Care Growth Disappoints Analysts

Hindustan Unilever Net Beats Estimates on Soap
Sales for the maker of Knorr soups and Lux soaps grew to 58.5 billion rupees from 50.3 billion rupees a year earlier. Photographer: Adeel Halim/Bloomberg

Hindustan Unilever Ltd., a unit of the world’s second-biggest consumer-goods maker, reported third-quarter sales growth for personal care products that disappointed some analysts amid a slowdown in India’s economy.

Net income rose 18 percent to 7.54 billion rupees ($154.4 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31, from 6.38 billion rupees a year earlier, the Mumbai-based company said in a filing today. That compares with the 6.96 billion-rupee median of 31 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales growth in the company’s personal-care segment, whose brands include Fair & Lovely face cream and Vaseline, disappointed some analysts. Asia’s third-biggest economy will expand 7 percent in the year ending March, the least in seven years, according to the median prediction of 15 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

“There could be some disappointment in the personal care growth, which has not been up to expectations,” said Naveen Kulkarni, an analyst with MF Global Sify Securities Pvt.

Hindustan Unilever, the maker of Dove shampoo and Surf detergent, closed down 3.6 percent to 387.05 rupees as of 3 p.m. in Mumbai trading. The stock earlier rose as much as 2.4 percent.

Sales of soaps and detergents grew 21 percent, while personal-care product sales increased by 14 percent, the company said in the statement.

Sales for the maker of Knorr soups and Lux soaps grew to 58.5 billion rupees from 50.3 billion rupees a year earlier. That compares with the 58.75 billion-rupee median of 32 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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