Sanjiv Puri now CMD at ITC, resolves to build market leadership across all segments

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Kolkata | Published: May 14, 2019 6:07:21 AM

Puri is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, and Wharton School of Business.

He has spent more than three decades at the Kolkata-headquartered firm, having joined it in 1986.

ITC managing director Sanjiv Puri was on Monday appointed the company’s chairman, two days after the death of YC Deveshwar, who earlier held the post. Puri, who has been the MD at the diversified firm since May last year, is now its chairman and managing director.

The announcement was widely expected. Puri, 56, was the chief operating officer (COO) before being promoted as chief executive officer (CEO) in February 2017. He became the managing director in 2018, in a clear indication that he was being groomed for bigger things.

He has spent more than three decades at the Kolkata-headquartered firm, having joined it in 1986.

Puri’s appointment comes at a time when ITC has diversified its portfolio and the reliance on cigarettes is falling.

Nonetheless, the competition in the FMCG and food space is intense. The firm’s market capitalisation stands at over Rs 3.5 lakh crore. Before taking over as the COO, Puri was responsible for overseeing the FMCG, paperboards, paper & packaging and agri businesses.

Puri is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, and Wharton School of Business.

Meanwhile, ITC on Monday reported an 18.73% year-on-year growth in standalone net profits to Rs 3,481.90 crore for the three months to March, a shade ahead of consensus estimates. Revenues rose a reasonably good 13.3% y-o-y to Rs 11,992.1 crore. The operating profit margin,however, contracted 102 basis points y-o-y to 38.1% as Ebitda increased 10.3% y-o-y to Rs 4,571.7 crore in line with estimates.

The company ended 2018-19 with consolidated revenues of Rs 49,862.11 crore, up 4.56% and net profits of Rs 12,835.90 crore. The company’s non-cigarette businesses, including foods, personal care, hotels, paper, agriculture, information technology and others, now accounts for around 59% of its turnover.

The ITC stock ended Monday’s session at Rs 289.85, down 2.64% over its previous close on the BSE.

“It is an honour and privilege to be appointed the chairman of ITC. It is a responsibility that I accept with humility and with a deep resolve to build on the outstanding legacy nurtured over the years, further strengthen and build market leadership across all business segments whilst reinforcing the company’s commitment to put nation first always,” Puri said in a statement soon after the board’s approval.

In Q4FY19 revenue from the company’s cigarette business grew 11.13% y-o-y at Rs 5485.92 crore, while operating profit from the segment increased by close to 10% y-o-y at Rs 3,855.95 crore during the period. “The cigarettes business, impacted by steep increase in taxes under the GST regime, sharpened focus on delivering world-class products through continuous innovation along with best-in-class execution thereby consolidating its market standing,” the company said in a statement after declaring its results.

“Contrary to indications from the government that the transition to GST would be based on principles of maintaining revenue neutrality, tax incidence on cigarettes have risen sharply under the GST regime and the discrimination vis-à-vis other tobacco products continues,” it stated.

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