India's P&G Hygiene and Health Care posts dip in Q2 profit as costs jump

CHENNAI/BENGALURU Jan 31 (Reuters) - India's Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care Ltd (PROC.NS) on Tuesday reported a drop in second-quarter profit, hit by higher cost of commodities and a slowdown in the broader fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector in the country.

Demand for health and hygiene goods has slowed from COVID lockdown-highs, while customers are also snubbing big brands for cheaper consumer goods in the face of high living costs, Dalal Street analysts have said.

FMCG giants including toothpaste maker Dabur India (DABU.NS) and Parachute coconut oil seller Marico (MRCO.NS) have in recent quarters struggled due to lower demand in rural regions, which are only beginning to show signs of recovery.

Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care said in an exchange filing it operated "in a challenging cost and operating environment".

Total expenses for the company rose about 7% to 8.65 billion rupees and profit fell nearly 2% to 2.07 billion Indian rupees ($25.33 million) for the three months ended Dec. 31.

Shares of the company closed nearly 3% lower in January amid broader weakness. They fell about 6% last year.

Revenue from operations for Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care, which houses sanitary napkin brand Whisper and aftershave maker Old Spice, rose 4% to 11.37 billion rupees in the quarter, compared with an about 7% growth a year earlier.

The company declared an interim dividend of 80 rupees per equity share.

($1 = 81.7220 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Dimpal Gulwani in Bengaluru and Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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