India's Britannia beats profit estimates on steady demand

FILE PHOTO A worker stands next to a production line at the Britannia biscuit factory in New Delhi

BENGALURU/CHENNAI (Reuters) -Indian biscuit maker Britannia Industries beat estimates for fourth-quarter profit on Friday, aided by resilient demand from urban consumers.

Consumer goods makers have seen steady demand for certain food items such as chocolates and biscuits, especially in urban areas, while prices of key raw materials including wheat, milk and sugar have eased, helping their bottomline.

Britannia, which sells Jim Jam and NutriChoice biscuits, reported a consolidated net profit of 5.38 billion rupees ($64.5 million) for the three months ended March 31, compared with analysts' average estimate of 5.37 billion rupees, according to data from LSEG.

The profit, however, fell from 5.59 billion rupees a year earlier, as revenue grew only 1% to 40.69 billion rupees in the reported quarter.

Rival Hindustan Unilever missed quarterly earnings estimates, but said a recovery in demand in rural areas was underway.

Nestle India, on the other hand, reported a bigger-than-expected rise in profit, owing to higher product prices and demand.

($1 = 83.3781 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Ashna Teresa Britto in Bengaluru and Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)