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We saw customers prioritise necessities over frivolous purchases: Sanjiv Mehta, MD of HUL

Hindustan Unilever has said it reported a strong performance last fiscal year in a challenging macroeconomic environment, marked by geopolitical uncertainties, high commodity inflation and tepid market growth.

“As economic activities normalised after a couple years of the pandemic, in a high inflationary environment, we witnessed consumers prioritising essentials over discretionary spends,” managing director Sanjiv Mehta said in the company’s latest annual report.

In fiscal 2023, Mehta’s remuneration growth was flat at Rs22.36 crore, according to the report. His salary was 164 times higher than the average of the remuneration of HUL employees. Mehta, who retires June 26 after the company’s annual general meeting will be succeeded by Rohit Jawa, who will get annual remuneration of Rs21.43 crore and another Rs4.83 crore as mobility linked allowances in two tranches.

HUL had 6697 permanent employees as on March 31, 2022, compared to 8480 employees a year ago. The company, however, clarified that last year’s number includes employees working for HUL only while FY22 number included the employees working with subsidiaries and group companies as well. The percentage increase in the median remuneration of employees for the financial Year was 10.73%, it said.

During the fiscal, HUL grew 16% to post sales of Rs58,154 crore while net profit rose 13% to Rs9,962 crore.

“We completed the ninth consecutive quarter of double-digit underlying sales growth and in the financial year, added nearly Rs8,000 crore to our turnover, despite a volatile and high-inflationary external environment. Our performance has been especially impressive considering the challenges the world faces today,” said Nitin Paranjple, chairman at HUL.

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