Sri Lanka consumer spending rebounds: FMCG firm

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 09, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Hemas group said its fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) division grew revenues at double digit rates in the latest financial year and it re-launched brands as consumer spending rebounded. Sri Lanka had high inflation in 2008. It hit a peak of 28 percent in mid-2009 but fell thereafter.

There was nominal deflation and the economy recovered in the second half of 2009 from a steep slow down in the first half of the year.

A 30-year war in the north and east of the island also ended in May 2009.

“Aided by markets that were previously underserved, and the improvement in the local economy, most FMCG categories saw double digit growth,” Hemas chief executive Husein Esufally told shareholders in the annual report.

“This was in contrast to the previous year when category growth was almost flat and several categories shrank.”

In the year to March consumer goods revenues had growth 13 percent to 5.2 billion rupees and profits were up 19 percent to 636 million rupees.

The firm had re-launched several products with better packaging including its ‘flagship’ Baby Cheramy brand and Velvet toilet soap. Esufally said its Diva branded washing power “had w