Mumbai: Hindustan Unilever Ltd has increased the prices of some of its soaps and detergents, and cut pack sizes of some others to boost margins in the business, a source told on Wednesday.
   
The fast-moving consumer goods major has hiked the retail price of the 500 gm and 1 kg packs of Rin detergent powder by 3 rupees and 5 rupees, respectively, to 38 rupees and 73 rupees.
   
A 75 gm bar of Lux International soap now costs 2 rupees more at 24 rupees, the source said.
   
The pack size of Lux Peach and Cream, and Lux Strawberry & Cream soaps has shrunk to 62 gm from 70 gm but the price is unchanged at 10 rupees a pack.   

Hindustan Unilever has also increased the price of the 110 gm bar of the Active Wheel detergent soap by 1 rupee to 4 rupees. Active Wheel is the largest selling detergent soap in the country.
   
Analysts see the price hikes helping the company improve its margins in the soaps and detergents business, which contributes around 48 percent to its topline.
   
However, if the company hikes prices further, sales volume growth will start suffering, said an analyst at a domestic brokerage.   

Palm oil is a key raw material for Hindustan Unilever, and the main ingredient in the manufacture of soaps and detergents. As on Feb 29, international prices of palm oil were down nearly 4.5 percent from a year ago.
   
Today, Hindustan Unilever shares ended down 0.9 percent at 412.50 rupees on the National Stock Exchange.

(Agencies)