India's Godrej Consumer beats profit estimate on demand for home care products

CHENNAI, Jan 31 (Reuters) - India's Godrej Consumer Products (GOCP.NS) reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, benefiting from higher demand for its home and personal care products.

Net profit rose nearly 4% to 5.46 billion rupees ($66.81 million) for the third quarter ended Dec. 31, the owner of Cinthol soap brand said in an exchange filing. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected, on average, a net profit of 4.96 billion rupees.

The Asian consumer goods sector has been growing over the years on rising household income and changing lifestyles, with consumers turning to Western products such as hair dyes and room fresheners instead of traditional health and hygiene methods.

Godrej sold products worth 35.68 billion rupees during the reported quarter, rising nearly 9% from a year-ago period, and more than making up for a similar hike in total expenses.

For Godrej, quarterly revenue from India - its biggest sales driver - grew nearly 11% to 20.1 billion rupees, with its home care business increasing by 10% on demand for household insecticides.

Godrej's personal care business, which includes its hair colour and body wash portfolio, recorded a 14% growth, while a broader easing of commodity prices also helped boost bottomline.

"With commodity pressures abating, we expect gradual recovery in consumption, expansion in gross margins, upfront marketing investments and improvement in profitability in the coming quarters," said Godrej Managing Director Sudhir Sitapati.

Godrej shares, which lost nearly 10% last year, were up more than 1% at 915.55 rupees in afternoon trading on Tuesday.

($1 = 81.7300 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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