BENGALURU (Reuters) – India’s Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care on Monday reported a 36.5% rise in first-quarter profit as easing inflation helped revive demand across the country, including in the rural belt.
The company’s profit for the three months ended Sept. 30. rose to 2.11 billion rupees from 1.54 billion rupees a year earlier.
Cooling inflation and rising awareness of personal hygiene have driven demand for companies like Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care, which said in an analyst call in September that it saw growing adoption of feminine hygiene products such as sanitary napkins, especially in rural areas.
However, the maker of Pampers diapers and Whisper sanitary napkins did not specify how much demand its rural business accounted for.
With moderated food prices, rural demand has seen green shoots as India’s annual retail inflation eased to 6.83% in August from 7.44% in July, further easing to 5.02% in September.
The company’s income from the sale of products rose 9.04% to 11.35 billion rupees, while revenue from operations rose 8.9%.
Total expenses for the quarter rose 2.8% to 8.70 billion rupees, while input costs fell 18.7%.
Brokerage Motilal Oswal said there was “huge category growth potential” in the feminine hygiene segment and a potential for higher margin gains from “premiumisation” in the category in the long term.
The company’s shares fell 1.9% ahead of the results. The stock has risen 14.8% this year compared with a 15.9% gain in the Nifty index for fast-moving consumer goods companies.
($1 = 83.2090 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Navamya Ganesh Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Sohini Goswami)