Happy we shut out dissenters, moved ITC away from cigarettes, says Y C Deveshwar

Written by PTI | Kolkata | Updated: Jul 30 2014, 22:48pm hrs
Y C DeveshwarY C Deveshwar said ITC would now want to enter areas of fruit juices, tea, coffee. (Reuters)
ITC chairman Y C Deveshwar today said it was heartening to see that the company had diversified and built several brands to get a fair degree of consumer franchise.

He said the company was now looking at entering into newer areas of food business.

"I am happy that we did not take note of the dissenting voices which were opposing the company's move to branch out in other areas besides tobacco," Deveshwar told shareholders at the company's AGM here today.

In 1996 there was opposition from a section of the shareholders when the company wanted to diversify.

"It is not easy to build brands. In ITC Ltd we have international brands and the company had been able to build a fair degree of consumer franchise," he said.

The traditional cigarettes business, he said, had been subject to continuous high incidence of taxation and would exert pressure on the legal industry volumes and sub-optimise the revenue potential from the tobacco sector.

Deveshwar said ITC would now want to enter areas of fruit juices, tea, coffee, chocolates and dairy products. "Entering into these products because this is the best time to absorb the cost of gestation," he added.

The tobacco business continued to be the highest revenue grosser for the company followed by agri-business.

Deveshwar said ITC was investing in 65 projects involving an investment of Rs 25,000 crore and were currently under implementation or in advanced stages of planning.

"These projects are distributed across a majority of states and West Bengal has a high share with an outlay of Rs 3,500 crore encouraged by the conducive policies of the state," he said.

"In my belief, the company can aim for a revenue of Rs one lakh crore from the new FMCG businesses by the year 2030 and be the number one FMCG player in India," Deveshwar added.