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P&G: Worrying signs

Apr 25, 2002

P&G Hygiene & Healthcare Limited's (P&G) third quarter performance reflects the difficult market conditions the FMCG sector has been facing. The company declared a 9% topline growth in the December quarter, but finished the March quarter with a significant 11% decline in topline growth.

(Rs m)3QFY013QFY02Change9m FY019m FY02Change
Net Sales 908805-11.3%3,2403,205-1.1%
Other Income3919-50.9%647314.2%
Operating Profit (EBDIT)296179-39.7%956843-11.8%
Operating Profit Margin (%)32.6%22.2% 29.5%26.3% 
Interest 00 10 
Profit before Tax266161-39.4%806758-6.0%
Extraordinary items00 073 
Profit after Tax/(Loss)208121-42.0%715663-7.3%
Net profit margin (%)22.9%15.0% 22.1%20.7% 
No. of Shares (eoy) (m)21.621.6 21.621.6 
Earnings per share*38.522.3 44.140.9 
Current P/e ratio 20.8  11.4 

The company finished the quarter with a 42% decline in profits to Rs 121 m. However, the company's release says that P&G had earned an extraordinary income of Rs 100.5 m in March quarter last year, and therefore, has actually registered a 12% growth in net profit YoY. This extraordinary income must have arisen due to sales adjustments in the March quarter last year.

However, in March quarter last year the company did not elaborate on how these extraordinary gains came about. The management of P&G seems to be giving this aspect prominence now. How this extraordinary item affected the March quarter numbers in the previous year is therefore not clear to us, so we are keeping our last year's March quarter figures intact.

Cost break-up
(Rs m)3QFY013QFY02Change9m FY019m FY02Change
Raw material cost403323-19.9%1,3121,288-1.9%
Staff cost10570-33.4%274237-13.4%
Sales tax/excise1031040.7%3323371.7%
Other expenses103234126.0%69883719.9%
Total expenditure7157302.2%2,6152,6983.2%

Apart from the decline in topline, another worrying aspect is a huge 10% drop in operating margins to 22%. This is another sign of the difficult market conditions P&G is facing. On a nine month basis, the performance is somewhat better. The company has logged in a marginal 1% decline in sales and a 7% drop in net profits. If we take out the extraordinary income P&G earned in FY02 (till date) then the company actually saw profits decline by 17% during the nine month period. In 9mFY02 too, the pressure on margins is evident.

Commenting on the performance Mr. Bharat Patel, Chairman, P&G said "Our third quarter sales are down because of continuing slowdown in economy resulting in decline in most established packaged consumer goods category. We have strong plans for the remaining part of the fiscal and next year so that sales decline turns into significant sales increase"

At the current price of Rs 465 the stock trades at a P/E of 11x 9mFY02 annualised earnings. Given the company's focus on operational efficiencies, the valuation is on the lower side. This is probably because of the company's two product dependence as well as concerns regarding the parent's 100% subsidiaries. Also, the company's 3QFY02 performance is sending warning signals about the pressure on the company's core business.

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