Biscuit maker Britannia’s profit climbs 36% on packaged foods demand

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India’s Britannia Industries reported a near-36% jump in quarterly earnings on Friday as the Marie Gold biscuits maker stocked up its products in mom-and-pop stores across rural markets.

Britannia, which also sells cakes and breads, posted a consolidated profit of 4.58 billion rupees ($55.4 million) in the first quarter ended June 30, compared with 3.37 billion rupees a year earlier.

Sales of chocolates and biscuits have defied the inflation-led volatility in demand for branded consumer goods such as cooking oil and tea.

Britannia has also tied up with more dealers, especially in rural India, and upped its budget for product launches and advertisements as it tries to attract customers.

The efforts helped revenue from operations grow 8% to 40.11 billion rupees.

Peer Nestle India, meanwhile, beat quarterly earnings expectations as it benefited from price increases and demand for its chocolates and packaged foods, including Maggi noodles.

However, sales for the July-September quarter could come under pressure with prices of several essentials like milk and tomatoes remaining stubbornly high in recent months.

Britannia’s shares closed roughly flat before results on Friday, with their gains for the year standing at over 11%.

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)