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BW Businessworld

Creating Value

The HUL brand has come to signify value for not just millions of its consumers in their daily lives but also for its employees through its stellar workplace practices

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Rank 4- Hindustan Unilever 

Sanjiv Mehta, CEO & MD 

Overall Avg. Score: 3.00 

Revenue: Rs 45,311 crore 

Hindustan Unilever (HUL) is India’s largest fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company that has been present in the country for more than 85 years. Nine out of ten Indian households use one or more of HUL brands to feel good, look good and get more out of life, giving the company a unique opportunity to contribute towards a brighter future for its customers and consumers. With over 40 brands across 12 distinct categories, the company is part of the daily life of millions of consumers.  

HUL is driven by the purpose to make sustainable living commonplace. The company with employee strength of more than 21,000, has been ranked as the best place to work for 12 years straight. "The relentless commitment and dedication of every member of the Hindustan Unilever family helped the business overcome many challenges in the past year," said Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director, HUL in his message to the shareholders.  

No surprises then that HUL has moved two places up to be ranked fourth in the latest BW Businessworld Most Respected Companies (MRC) rankings compared to its position in the FY19 rankings. 

Robust numbers 

HUL posted a robust set of numbers for 2020-21. It reported a turnover of Rs 45,311 crore, which is up 18 per cent while the domestic consumer growth stood at 6 per cent. The profit after tax was Rs 7,954 crore, up 18 per cent.  

"We managed Covid challenges well and sustained strong cash generation. The Board of Directors proposed a final dividend of Rs 17 per share, subject to approval of shareholders at the AGM. Together with interim dividend of Rs 14 per share, the total dividend for the financial year ended 31 March, 2021 amounted to Rs 31 per share," Mehta added. The total dividend payout during FY21 was more than Rs 9,500 crore. 

The consumer-centric approach of HUL saw its brands launching innovations, building awareness through communication, shifting to newer ways of reaching consumers and connecting with communities through purpose-led initiatives.  

There was an unprecedented demand for skin cleansing and hand hygiene products. That is why Lifebuoy launched 15 new product variations in the hand hygiene portfolio within just 30 days.  

The company also completed the acquisition of female intimate hygiene brand VWash. Besides, the company took a decisive step to embrace diversity and promote inclusion across its beauty and personal care portfolio and renamed the iconic 'Fair & Lovely' brand to 'Glow & Lovely'. 

Home and hygiene  

The home care portfolio made a significant contribution to the revenue as people continued to stay at home in FY21. "We launched the Surf excel Active Hygiene and introduced the Lifebuoy Laundry Sanitiser. We saw a significant rise in dishwasher sales in the country," added Mehta.  

The growing demand for hygiene products saw HUL launch a slew of variants of its well-established brands. For example, it launched the anti-bacterial variant of Vim in bars and liquids, Domex launched a new formulation with sodium hypochlorite that is proven to kill coronavirus within one minute. It gained market share in the tea business, launched new fortified food products, introduced Horlicks and Boost and tied-up with delivery apps to help consumers access HUL products at home.  

Mehta underlined that the top priority for HUL remained the safety of its people and everyone who worked for HUL across its supply chain and sales.  

HUL was one of the first companies to provide Covid-19 medical insurance for all those who work at the frontend. These are among the several reasons why HUL is in the top spots and commands the respect of its employees and consumer alike.  

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Magazine 4 June 2022