Bata puts best foot forward, net up 18%

Written by Corporate Bureau | Kolkata, Mar 28 | Updated: Mar 29 2008, 05:53am hrs
Bata India Ltd, the country's largest footwear retailer, has reported a net profit after tax of Rs 47.44 crore on sales turnover of Rs 890.70 crore for the year to December 31, 2007, against a net profit of Rs 40.15 crore on turnover of Rs 794.82 crore for the previous year.

Profit before tax was Rs 55.15 crore, against a PBT of Rs 49.18 crore for 2006. Bata said the profits for 2006 included a one-off exceptional item of Rs 17.16 crore. Without considering this exceptional item, the PBT for 2007 shows an increase of 72.1% over the previous year's figure.

Bata attributed the 18% increase in net profit and 72% growth in profit before tax to stricter cost control, improved product mix, new shoe designs, renovation of existing stores, consolidation and specialization of factories and continued transformation of the wholesale business.

The board has recommended a dividend of 20%, inclusive of 5% additional dividend to celebrate 75 years of Bata in India, subject to the approval of shareholders.

A Bata statement quoted Marcelo Villagran, managing director, as saying: "In this 75th year of the history of the company, Bata India Limited has delivered the best results ever with a PBT of Rs 551.5 million and the Company has now become profitable on a sustained basis."

"This great achievement is the result of a series of sustained efforts, all aimed at improving the Company's fortune. We continue growing our sales, improving our margins and monitoring our expenses," Villagran was quoted as saying.

The company said its "forward-looking" initiatives like investments in large format stores, trendy shoe collections and customer service programs have boosted turnover by 12.6% on the previous year's figure.

Bata said that, in order to stay ahead of competition, it has adopted an ambitious strategy of opening 70 stores every year for the next few years. The company has also introduced exclusive Hush Puppies Stores for the first time in India.

Bata's joint venture real-estate project with Calcutta Metropolitan Group Ltd to develop 262 acres in Batanagar into a world-class integrated township has also been progressing well.