Cigarette-to-hotel-to-FMCG major ITC Ltd has plans to foray into overseas markets with an aspiration to become one of the leading multinational corporations (MNCs) operating globally, according to its chairman YC Deveshwar. “We are not satisfied with where we are. Because it is the constructive force of dissatisfaction which gives you the energy to move forward. And we always have found ways of getting the constructive force of dissatisfaction so that we can make fine ways to make improvement in the future,” Deveshwar told shareholders during the company’s 105th annual general meeting here on Friday. Significantly, this annual general meet was Deveshwar’s last as the chief executive officer of the diversified conglomerate as he has decided to step aside from his executive role to a non-executive one in February next year.
“This meeting marks a personal milestone for me. Although I hope to address you in the coming years as chairman of your company, today is the last time I am addressing you in the joint capacity of chairman & chief executive officer of ITC,” said the longest-serving chairman of India’s largest cigarette maker. Sixty-nine-year-old Deveshwar said the conglomerate has “a world-class youthful” management team, which will take the company forward to fulfill its “unfinished agenda”. “I am very happy to say that we have a world-class youthful team at ITC and that is going to take this company forward and will out do what we did in the past,” he said. “I have aspiration for making ITC an MNC company,” he averred amid huge applause from the shareholders.
Notably, Deveshwar will be providing guidance and mentorship to the new executive management, that is planned to be put in place, as non-executive chairman on expiry of his current term in February next year. “We are glad that you are not retiring from the company, but has decided to mentor the new management,” said a shareholder present at the AGM. Most shareholders highly praised the ITC boss, who assumed office as executive chairman in January, 1996, for transforming the company from a cigarette maker to a major multi-business conglomerate.
Now, ITC is a leading FMCG marketer in India and its non-cigarette businesses, including foods, personal care, hotels, paper, agriculture, information technology and others, account for over 50% of its net revenues. Addressing the annual general meeting, Deveshwar said his company aspires to become a globally competitive multinational firm by creating world-class Indian brands. “ITC is going to have plants all over India. And you should hope that we should have plants all over the world.”
On domestic front, the ITC chief said the conglomerate has planned multiple projects with an outlay of Rs. 25,000 crore over the next five years. The company aspires to be No 1 player in the non-cigarette FMCG business and has set a revenue target of Rs. 1,00,000 crore by 2030. Around 20 modern integrated consumer goods manufacturing and logistic facilities are under development. Deveshwar said his company would take on domestic FMCG firms like Patanjali and Amul. “Patanjali has built Indian brands. I am happy. We should be glad whenever an Indian brand is created. But we will also compete,” he added.
ITC on Thursday reported an over 10% increase in its standalone net profit at Rs 2,384.67 crore for the April-June quarter. Its scrip on Friday closed at Rs. 249.55, down 0.44% on BSE from the previous close.