HUL today reported a 16.73 per cent increase in standalone net profit at Rs 1,018.08 crore, aided by income from sale of properties, for the fourth quarter ended March 31, while it continued to face headwinds.

The FMCG major had posted profit of Rs 872.13 crore in the January-March quarter of 2013-14.

HUL’s net sales climbed to Rs 7,555 crore in the quarter under review, compared with Rs 6,935.82 crore a year earlier, up 8.92 per cent, the company said in a BSE filing.

The company reported exceptional income of Rs 170.40 crore from the sale of properties in the fourth quarter of 2014-15 fiscal.

Hindustan Unilever Ltd Chairman Harish Manwani said: “We have delivered another year of strong performance with broad-based growth ahead of the market and sustained margin improvement...

“Despite market challenges, our strategic agenda remains unchanged as we continue to manage our business even more dynamically for growth that is consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible.”

Giving future growth guidance, HUL Chief Financial Officer P B Balaji said the market remains volatile and recovery will depend on how the rural market shapes up.

When asked about the growth the company has seen in the rural market during the quarter, Balaji said: “While rural (market) has been growing faster than the urban, rural sales growth has slowed down compared to what it was 2-3 years back.”

Except soaps and detergents and others (which includes exports, water, infant care products), HUL reported double digit growth in all it product categories.

During the quarter, revenue from soap and detergents increased by 5.04 per cent to Rs 3,673.71 crore, personal products increased by 13.43 per cent to Rs 2,249.68 crore.

Revenue from beverages grew by 12.32 per cent to Rs 976.15 crore and packaged food increased by 13.61 per cent to Rs 476.83 crore.

For the financial year ended March 31, 2015, HUL reported net profit of Rs 4,315.26 crore as against net profit of Rs 3,867.49 crore in 2013-14.

HUL’s net sales in the year ended March 31, 2015 stood at Rs 30,170.50 crore compared with Rs 27,408.29 crore in the previous year.

The Board of Directors of the company has proposed a final dividend of Rs 9 per share.

HUL scrip closed at Rs 894.60 apiece, up 3.34 per cent from the previous close on the BSE.