Recently, there were some news reports claiming that HUL increased prices of its soaps. Subsequently, there was some criticism against the Company on social media that we were trying to profiteer amid a health crisis.
We would like to state that this is completely false. We have not increased prices of soaps after the outbreak of COVID- 19 in India, especially when people need hygiene products the most.
The price of palm oil, a key ingredient for soaps, has been increasing for many months, and at the end of 2019, was up over 25%. Therefore, in January 2020, we increased prices of our soaps by 5% to 6% across our brands: Lux, Lifebuoy, Dove, Hamam, Liril and Pears. This was shared with the media and market on January 31st 2020 during our quarterly earnings call. The price hikes landed in the market in February, which was well before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
We took up this matter of incorrect reporting seriously and engaged with the media. Post that, they issued a clarification on their social media handles and removed the misleading story from their website.
We are doing everything in our power to make our range of hygiene products including Lifebuoy and Domex available for our consumers despite all the disruptions on account of COVID-19. We are also ramping up the distribution and production of our hygiene brands whilst working with the government to increase awareness on proper hygiene by washing hands with soap or use of sanitisers.
We are fully committed to supporting the government and various authorities in our collective effort of stopping the spread of COVID-19. And we will not allow misleading and malicious information to spread in these times.