India's Patanjali Foods Q4 profit falls on higher expenses, lower edible oils sales

FILE PHOTO: A worker arranges consumable goods inside a Patanjali store in Ahmedabad

BENGALURU (Reuters) - India's Patanjali Foods reported a 22% fall in fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday, as sluggish demand dragged overall sales down in its mainstay edible oils business amid a surge in expenses.

The Ruchi Gold oil maker's profit fell to 2.06 billion rupees (around $25 million) for the quarter ended March 31, from 2.64 billion rupees a year earlier.

Higher prices of everyday items like milk and wheat flour have slowed demand for consumer goods in rural India, causing people to cut back their spending on other essentials as well as discretionary items.

Patanjali's revenue from the edible oils segment fell nearly 9%, to 58.89 billion rupees, limiting its overall revenue growth.

The company's total expenses rose about 6%, to 80.48 billion rupees.

However, the firm said it is optimistic about an increase in rural demand in the upcoming quarters.

Last month, India's Supreme Court reprimanded the head of a state drug regulator for negligence in addressing claims made by yoga guru Baba Ramdev's company, Patanjali Ayurved.

Despite being informed in 2018 about advertisements by its Divya Pharmacy unit, which claimed to cure chronic diseases, the state drugs department failed to take action against Patanjali Ayurved, prompting criticism from the court.

Rival and Fortune cooking oil maker Adani Wilmar reported a 67.5% rise in its fourth-quarter profit earlier this month.

($1 = 83.4753 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Navamya Ganesh Acharya in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Manvi Pant; Editing by Pooja Desai)