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This article is more than 1 year old.

HUL boss Mehta unfazed by rising focus on local, says co’s “heart beats for India”

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Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) CEO Sanjiv Mehta has said that his company is sure of its Indian identity.

HUL boss Mehta unfazed by rising focus on local, says co’s “heart beats for India”
As the call to buy local gets louder amid concerns over the impact of COVID-19 crisis on the economy, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) CMD Sanjiv Mehta has said that his company is sure of its Indian identity.
In a rare media interaction, Mehta told CNBC-TV18 that he is a proud Indian and that HUL’s “heart beats for India”.
Mehta went on to clarify that HUL is an Indian company registered under Indian laws and over 99 percent of the company’s products are manufactured locally, adding that HUL was as Indian as any domestic firm.
HUL, ‘The CEO Factory’ for India
Speaking on HUL’s Indian roots, Mehta said his company has been in the country for over 60 years. In 1958, it was already among the largest firms in India and made a profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 1 crore. In 2019, the company made a profit of Rs 6080 crore -- a compound annual growth of 15 percent. In the same period that HUL grew its profits 6000 times, the Indian economy grew 1400 times.
Mehta said that consumers ultimately are the smartest decision makers and they will opt for good products that provide maximum value in the market place.
While Mehta alluded to HUL’s product manufacturing in India, it is also the leader in another kind of manufacturing --business leaders for India. For the last decade, HUL has been ranked by AC Nielsen as the 'Dream Employer of Choice'.
HUL is taken extremely seriously in the government circles with many of its past chairmen being 'Padma Bhushan' and 'Padma Vibhushan' awardees.
Most famously, nobody gives more CEOs to corporate India than HUL. From Nestlé to Diageo and Airtel to Hindalco, there are currently around 400 HUL alumni who are heading across corporate India. In corporate circles, HUL is well known by the nickname ‘The CEO Factory’.
Commenting on the situation caused by COVID-19 which led to many businesses shutting down and running into losses, Mehta said there is no option but to open the economy gradually for resumption of demand.
Due to the unique nature of the current issue with multiple moving parts, he refrained from quantifying the impact on HUL’s business. However, the company in its post Q4 press release said that it believes that near-term demand is uncertain and consumer behaviour is likely to change.
The company added it is likely to see an upswing in categories like health, hygiene and nutrition. At the same time, there could be some adverse impact on discretionary categories and the out of home channel, in the short term.
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