ITC Q4 net up 18.16% at Rs2,278 crore

Diversified group ITC Ltd has reported an 18.16 per cent increase in standalone net profit for the quarter of the financial year ended 31 March 2014, at Rs2,278.01 crore, against a net profit of Rs1,927.9 crore posted in the January-March quarter of fiscal 2012-13.

Net sales in during the quarter rose 11.79 per cent to Rs8,180.3 crore, from Rs8,623.11 crore in the year-ago quarter, ITC said in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

ITC said its non-cigarette FMCG segment recorded robust revenue growth of 16 per cent, despite a challenging operating environment. The segment also recorded its maiden profits in FY14 amidst heightened competitive intensity and sharp increase in input costs, it added.

The hospitality industry, however, continued to be impacted by the weak economic environment and significant additions to room supplies in major Indian cities.

Agri business profits grow 14.2 per cent driven by improved realisations and higher volumes.

Paperboards, paper and packaging segment revenues were up 14.7 per cent aided by higher volumes and product mix enrichment. Profitability, however, was impacted by steep increase in wood, coal and chemical costs.

For the financial year ended 31 March 2014, ITC said, the company continued to deliver strong financial performance with healthy growth in revenues and high quality earnings, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the extremely challenging business context in which it was achieved, namely, a sluggish macro-economic environment, steep increase in taxes / duties on cigarettes for two years in a row, weak demand conditions in the FMCG industry, gestation costs relating to the new FMCG businesses, sharp escalation in input costs in the paperboards, paper and packaging business and a weak demand and pricing environment in the hotels businesses.

Gross revenue for the year grew by 11.7 per cent to Rs46,712.62 crore. Net revenue rose 11.1 per cent to Rs32882.56 crore, primarily led by a 16 per cent growth in the non-cigarette FMCG segment, 14.7 per cent growth in paperboards, paper and packaging segment and 10.6 per cent growth in the cigarettes business. Pre-tax profit increased by 18.5 per cent to Rs12,659.11 crore while net profit recorded a growth of 18.4 per cent at Rs8,785.21 crore.

Earnings per share for the year stood at Rs11.09 (previous year Rs9.45). Cash flows from operations aggregated Rs10,760 crore compared to Rs9,596 crore in the previous year.

During the fourth quarter of the year, net turnover of the company increased by 11.8 per cent to Rs9,145.14 crore, helped by robust performance in the non-cigarette FMCG, paperboard, paper and packaging and cigarettes segments.

Pre-tax profits at Rs3,222.74 crore and post-tax profit at Rs2278.01 crore grew at an impressive rate of 18.1 per cent and 18.2 per cent, respectively, over the same period last year.

The board of directors has recommended a dividend of Rs6 per share (previous year dividend Rs5.25 per share) for the year ended 31 March 2014. This is estimated to involve total cash outflow of Rs4,771.91 crore (previous year Rs4,853.49 crore) including dividend distribution tax of Rs810.99 crore (previous year Rs705.03 crore).

Shares of ITC were trading at Rs346.8 in afternoon trade on the Mumbai market, up 0.58 per cent from its previous close on the BSE.