Thursday, July 23, 2009

FMCG cos to see robust volume growth

Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies, say analysts, may register a lower year-on-year (YoY) sales growth but higher volume growth for the quarter ending June 30. The full benefits of falling commodity prices and lower input costs should also increase the gross margins of these companies, they said.

A survey by five brokerage houses — SBICap Securities, Angel Broking, ICICI Securities, Motilal Oswal and HSBC Securities — reveals that after a volatile calendar year which saw input costs rise to record levels in the first half and then fall dramatically in the second half, FMCG companies will now see the benefit, as it usually takes a quarter for falling costs to show in the results.

“The FMCG universe is likely to register lower sales growth of 10.9 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) due to muted sales growth in Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and ITC, and lower price growth for most other companies. However, volume growth is expected to be strong for most categories. Lower input costs and excise benefits will result in margin expansion and, hence, we expect operating profits for the sector to grow 21.5 per cent y-o-y,” say ICICI Securities’ analysts.

“The volume-led growth will be led by led by companies like GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, Nestle and Dabur,” forecasts Anand Shah, FMCG sector analyst with Angel Broking, who expects the sector to record a 12 per cent net sales growth.

With most companies either effecting a direct rollback in prices (HUL, Marico) or offering various trade and consumer promotions, growth in sales will be mainly volume driven. “FMCG companies will post 8.7 per cent growth in sales, 15.2 per cent in Ebitda and 13.6 per cent in net profit. Excluding HUL, the growth would be much better at 15.4 per cent in sales, 20.2 per cent in Ebitda and 24.3 per cent in net profit,” says Pritee Panchal, FMCG sector analyst with SBICap Securities.

However, going ahead, while the makers of personal and packaged goods should benefit with no letdown in consumer demand, especially with the benefits of the National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme and farm loan waivers causing rural demand to hold strong, weak macro-economic conditions, coupled with falling income levels, could lead to moderation in consumer spending in the ensuing quarters.

“If the monsoon is poor, it will affect consumer purchasing power. There could be a risk to revenues for the next three quarters, but this will be at least partially mitigated by social sector spending, as laid out in the Union Budget,” cautions an HSBC Securities results forecast.

ST-MOVER ADVANTAGE
CompanyNet Profit Range

Net Sales Range

HUL6.2-152.9-8.6
ITC14.7-23.93-8.7
Nestle9.5-30.712.5-18.8
Dabur8.6-29.118-20
Marico20.2-37.313.3-16
GCPL49.7-66.410-19.5
Britannia15.3-29.710-18
GSK Consumer14.4-31.722-27.5
(Figures in per cent) Source: Analyst reports

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