MUMBAI: Hindustan Unilever, the Indian FMCG giant, increased its outlay on advertising and promotions by two-thirds during the last quarter, in an effort to drive up sales in the rapidly-growing market.
The local arm of the Anglo-Dutch corporation posted revenues of 45 billion rupees ($979m; €695m; £607m) in the October-to-December period, up from 43 billion rupees the previous year.
It returned to volume growth after three successive negative quarters, and delivered a net profit of 6.5 billion rupees, up by 5.4% on an annual basis.
Wheel, HUL's soap brand, was one of the company's top performers, with the relaunched version of Lux, and premium offerings like Pears and Liril, also generating volume improvements in this category.
In the oral care sector, the successful introduction of a peppermint version of Close Up toothpaste, and a new advertising campaign in support of Pepsodent, similarly helped to consolidate its leading position.
Food revenues rose by 9%, with the growth of Swirls, its ice cream parlour chain, supplementing volume gains for brands like Knorr and Kissan.
The owner of Dove and Pond's also heightened its advertising and promotional budget by 66% during the quarter, to 6.3 billion rupees, in order to "support innovations and further strengthen market competitiveness."
Harish Manwani, Hindustan Unilever's chairman, said "we are seeing good results from the actions that we have taken to drive growth."
"Volume growth accelerated in the quarter, backed by quality innovations, increased brand support and continued focus on market execution."
"We are committed to strengthening our market leadership and will invest appropriately in an increasingly competitive environment."
Data sourced from Bloomberg/HUL; additional content by Warc staff