by Suhani Adilabadkar
2020 could be a time of resurgence for Godrej Consumer Products, with high hopes from its household insecticide business. After a disappointing March quarter ridden by supply chain disruptions, June quarter looked stable aided by healthy domestic numbers.
Godrej was established in the midst of the bubonic plague in India in 1897 and manufactured the first vegetable oil soap in the world in 1918, the year of ‘Spanish Flu’. With health, hygiene and value for money products forming majority of its revenue mix, operating in Asia, Africa, US, Latin America and Middle East, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL) is ready to start its second innings amid Covid-19.
- Revenues were flat, operating margins expanded 91 bps YoY and PAT came out at Rs. 395 crore declining 3% YoY in Q1 FY21.
- GCPL has witnessed phenomenal growth in June quarter for its household insecticide segment up 27% YoY. This business comprises 28% of its annual global revenue mix.
- India and Indonesia registered 5% growth YoY each in constant currency - constituting 76% of its global portfolio (India 59% and Indonesia accounting for 18% of the total revenue mix), followed by a 23% YoY jump in Latin America and SAARC revenues and a 23% decline witnessed for Africa, US and Middle East.
- GCPL’s soap portfolio, apart from June quarter FY20 has been in negative territory for the remaining FY20 and again reported de-growth of 2% in Q1 FY21.
Aflat June Quarter in revenue, with big geo disparities
It was mostly flat revenue growth for GCPL, with revenue from operations reported at Rs. 2327 crore declining 0.91% YoY. Operating amid lockdown restrictions, while Indian and Indonesian markets were resilient, Africa, US and Middle East came out with weak numbers. Operating profits were on a stronger pitch, and reported at Rs. 473 crore in Q1 FY21 compared to Rs. 455 crore in the same period the previous year, rising 4% YoY thanks to expenditure on a tight leash.
Advertising and publicity declined 45% YoY while cost of raw material fell 12% YoY in June quarter FY21. Operating margins expanded 91 bps YoY, reporting at 20.31% in Q1 FY21 against 19.40% corresponding June quarter FY20. Net Profit or PAT came out at Rs. 395 crore in Q1 FY21 against Rs. 407 crore same period previous year declining 3% YoY.
Household Insecticide was a June Quarter Growth Driver
No one wants to land up in the hospital these days. Filled up with Covid patients, it’s the most dreaded place to be, even if you have your regular bout of fever. And this has been the driving force for a focus on hygiene, with a strong performance for GCPL, household insecticide market leader in India.
Indians didn’t want to get dengue, malaria and other mosquito driven diseases, and have to visit hospitals. Consequently, the sales of Kala Hit aerosol and Goodknight Gold Flash Liquid Vaporizer, or incense stick, coils, fastcards rose - basically anything that kept homes mosquito free.
The household insecticide sector is consequently doing well and market leader, GCPL has witnessed phenomenal growth in the June quarter with its Indian household insecticide segment up 27% YoY.
For other segments, such as hygiene constituting soaps, sanitizers, handwashes, wipes etc jumped 15% YoY while value for money segment comprising hair colour products witnessed de-growth of 13% YoY for India business.
India and Indonesia registered, 5% growth YoY each in constant currency - constituting 76% of its global portfolio (India 59% and Indonesia another 18% of total revenue mix), followed by a 23% YoY jump in Latin America and SAARC revenues and a 23% decline witnessed for Africa, US and Middle East.
Chinks In the Armour
With a disappointing performance in FY20, revenue slipping 4%, operating profit flat and PAT declining 36% YoY, GCPL is aiming for resurgence in 2020 focussing on its household insecticide business comprising 28% of its annual global revenue mix.
GCPL management expects June momentum to continue as, Ms Nisaba Godrej, Executive Chairperson and MD, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, said, “People are very concerned about their health. Just the way that they are washing their hands or using sanitizer, they do not want to take a chance of getting any sickness and having to go to a doctor or a hospital. So, I think that vigilance which we are seeing across categories of ‘improve my immunity and keep me safe’. And I don’t think that is just going to drop off overnight”.
But the household insecticide (HI) segment is ridden with seasonal variations is not even one third of the company’s revenue basket, though it has nearly doubled over the past 10 years. It would be difficult for the HI segment to carry the entire load of GCPL’s growth. Categories such as hair colour (31% of global portfolio) and soaps (40% of Indian revenue mix and 20% of its global portfolio) are deeply impacted by Covid. Its international business, especially Africa has been a laggard for the past few quarters.
The hair colour segment which has Godrej Expert, Godrej Nupur (henna brand), Godrej Professional, range of professional colour, care and styling products and BLUNT’s range of shampoos, conditioners, hair colours and styling products are discretionary in nature and are witnessing lower demand due to loss of income, job losses, down-trading and the new work from home environment.
Coming to the soap portfolio, Cinthol and Godrej No 1 are mainly considered personal wash products and Godrej Protekt stands no competition to market leaders Lifebuoy and Dettol with its germ protection positioning, ruling the roost growing in double digits, creating a tailwind for themselves amidst Covid.
GCPL’s soap portfolio, apart from the June quarter of FY20 has been in negative territory for the remaining FY20 and again reported de-growth of 2% in Q1 FY21. And lastly the African business (which is 90% hair care) has slowed down over the past few quarters.
Though there has been an impact from macro-economic volatility, slower scaling up of the wet hair portfolio and leadership issues, Covid-19 has also played its part and business has been hampered due to loss of income, down-trading and closure of saloons hurting the hair extension portfolio which forms the major part of the African business. The street is awaiting a revival of GCPL’s soap portfolio, the gradual uptick in sales of discretionary products and recovery in African business.
Will the new Chairperson and MD fix these issues and steer GCPL through Covid? Investors have not yet recovered their enthusiasm on the company’s business - the stock was down 3% after the Q1 FY20 result announcement.