The board of directors has declared a first interim dividend of Rs 1.50 per share for the year ending March 31, 2005.
During the financial year ended March 31, 2004, the company recorded a net profit of Rs 108 crore as against Rs 88 crore in the previous year, a growth of 22 per cent. However, since the company was affected by approximately 65 per cent of sales due to product price reductions, its net sales have declined marginally to Rs 939 crore from Rs 947 crore last year.
In an aggressive bid to reignite market and brand growth, in quarter 1, 2003-04, the company significantly reduced prices of its flagship brand, Colgate Dental Cream. To aggressively compete against low-priced competitors, the consumer prices of Colgate Cibaca were also substantially reduced, the company said in a press release.
It added that the market response to the aggressive price reduction in toothpastes was encouraging, and the resultant volume growth coupled with the success of an on-going cost rationalisation and productivity improvement programme had enabled the company maintain sales and deliver record profits to its shareholders. Earnings per share (EPS) has improved from Rs 6.52 per share to Rs 7.94 per share. EBITDA and net profit for the year grew by 12 per cent to Rs 146 crore and by 22 per cent to Rs 108 crore, respectively. The companys focussed programmes and concerted efforts to reduce operational costs and improve efficiencies continue to be a key contributor to the growth in operating profit (EBITDA) ratio which has increased by 170 basis points to 14 per cent of sales, the company said.
Total expenditure has declined by three per cent to Rs 793 crore from Rs 817 crore last year. The companys advertising spend has also reduced from Rs 185 crore to Rs 148 crore.
Operating profit has risen from Rs 130 crore to Rs 146 crore during the year.