Aug 27, 2008|
FMCG: Strong volumes, margin pressure
In the June quarter, FMCG companies saw an impressive topline growth. However, rising input prices and inflation took a toll on profitability. In this article we give an insight to the performance of the FMCG companies.
*(Financials include the respective quarterly numbers of HLL, ITC, Nestle, Britannia,
|Operating profit (EBDITA)
|Operating profit margin (%)
|Profit before tax
|Profit after tax
|Net profit margin (%)
Dabur, Marico, Colgate, GSK Consumers and Godrej Consumers)
Sales growth: Sales volumes grew by 20% YoY during the June quarter. However, on QoQ basis, the growth was subdued. With rising income and people consuming more, the growth in FMCG products witnessed strong momentum on YoY basis. However, on QoQ basis, rising inflation and the price hikes effected by companies across products led to slowdown in some segments. While ITC and Nestle were the only ones to launch new products, others companies launched variants of existing ones.
Innovations and renovations
||Multigrain cereal, Pro heart milk
|Maggi Cuppa Noodles
|Polo Extra Strong
|Kitkat Chunky, Mini
||Wheel Active green
|Lux Strawberry & Cream
|Axe shock and recover
||Parachute Advansed Night Repair Cream, Advanced Starz
|Hair & Care Almond Gold
Rural India shows promise: For the first time, the rural markets grew faster than the urban market in key product categories in April-May 2008, according to market research firm AC Nielsen. Mass products like soaps, detergents, hair oil and biscuits have good sales in the rural market. Better prices for farm produce, hike in minimum support prices, increased government spending and tax-free income have led to higher disposable incomes. Further, procurement of farm commodities in bulk directly from the fields by retail players, thereby evading the middleman's commission, has helped farmers reduce costs. With rural areas being an important market, almost all FMCG companies are increasing their focus on these areas.
Source : AC Nielsen.
FMCG: Resorting to price hikes
|Value growth (%)
|| Coconut oil
|All India - Urban
|All India - Rural
|Volume Growth (%)
|All India - Urban
|All India - Rural
Margin blip: As seen from the table, the margins have declined by 2.9% YoY. Raw material cost for most of the companies has been on the up trend. Rising crude prices and inflation on the higher side further added to the fury. Even the packaging costs rose by 20% YoY. Detergents and soaps have been the worst hit owing to constant rise in palm oil prices and LAB prices. Vegetable oils, milk powder and copra are amongst the other raw materials that have seen prices escalate.
What's pinching FMCG companies?
On QoQ basis, the margins have improved by 60 basis points. FMCG companies had resorted to weighted average price hike of 5% to 10% during the last few months across product categories to restrict the margin fall. In addition to price hikes, to tackle the inflation challenge, the companies resorted to cost saving techniques like reducing the packaging size, change in product mix and better sourcing of raw materials. However, on account of increasing competition, in both regional and national regions, fear of losing out on market share and the fear of downtrading would make the further price hikes would be difficult.
What to expect?
The FMCG industry is normally the last to benefit from high GDP growth and is also the last one to witness a slowdown in case the economy enters a downturn. The companies expect the volumes to remain strong except in some products where strong demand comes from the lower strata of the society. However, the companies are looking at introducing products targeting this segment to avoid down trading. With increasing commoditisation of products, FMCG companies are also looking at reinvention of products either by repositioning, launching variants or reworking the packaging. Further, as per the industry players, the FMCG sector in rural areas is expected to grow by as much as 40% compared to the growth of 25% in urban areas. With urban markets matured, it is the rural areas, which are likely to drive growth. While further price hikes would be difficult, companies with leadership position in their product categories, diverse product portfolios and stronger pricing power are better placed to combat the inflationary scenario and are a safer bets in the FMCG sector.
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