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India's United Spirits Q4 profit rises 7% on lower expenses

BENGALURU (Reuters) - India's United Spirits Ltd, which makes the Johnny Walker brand of whiskey, reported a 7.3% rise in fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday helped by narrowing costs that more than offset slowing demand.

The Bengaluru-based company, which also sells brands such as McDowell's No 1, Smirnoff, and Vat 69, reported a profit of 2.04 billion Indian rupees ($24.94 million) in the quarter ended March 31, up from 1.90 billion rupees a year earlier.

Last year, the company was hit by a one-time expense of 1.2 billion rupees.

One-time expenses reared their head for the latest quarter as well, with the company incurring expenses of 112 million rupees from the restructuring of its supply chain and other items.

Total expenses for the company fell 25% to 55.49 billion rupees on the back of lower input costs and excise duty.

Slowing demand remained a concern for the company as revenue from operations fell 25% to 57.83 billion rupees.

United Spirits said rebased net sales for its popular segment, which houses brands shrunk 6.3% due to inflationary headwinds.

Still, the Diageo PLC-owned company's net sales value rose 15.6% aided by a 23.2% growth in their prestige & above segment.

($1 = 81.7800 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Biplob Kumar Das in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)