Tata Chemicals on Friday posted a 23% year-on-year increase in its consolidated net profit to Rs 356 crore in the January-March quarter beating analyst consensus estimates from Bloomberg of Rs 238.4 crore. Consolidated net sales, however, remained flat at Rs 2,555 crore on a y-o-y basis, and below analyst estimates of Rs 2,959 crore. The company management said US operations continue to perform better on the back of improved production and sales volumes, along with better utilisation and efficiency. However, one-off impact on performance include actuarial gain on changes to post retiral medical plans and recent changes in tax legislation. The company\u2019s consolidated ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) increased by over 8% to Rs 512 crore, while the operating margins improved by 200 basis points to 20%. Speaking to newspersons at an earnings conference, John Mulhall, chief financial officer, Tata Chemicals, said despite the slightly down revenues, the quality of earnings has improved significantly. Tata Chemicals\u2019 European operations are back on track after some operational disturbance earlier this year. Also, Magadi operations reported higher sales volumes, better operational efficiency and sales realisation. R Mukundan, managing director, Tata Chemicals, said as far as India is concerned, the company\u2019s key businesses soda ash and salt continued to perform with healthy margins due to improved operational efficiencies despite stiff competition and higher input price. \u201cTata Salt recorded highest ever production volumes. We continue to expand our consumer portfolio. We recently launched three new products and also launched organic pulses.\u201d He added: \u201cOur target for consumer business over the next 3-4 years is to hit the Rs 5,000-crore mark but a lot depends on the expansion of stores.\u201d He said the urea transaction consummated with a profit before tax of Rs 1,279 crore reported as an exceptional item and a one-time income. \u201cPhosphatic fertiliser business has been classified as discontinued operations,\u201d he said. With this, Mukundan said the company would have exited the fertiliser business, which was part of the strategic reconfiguration of the business. At the same time, he said the company is in advanced stages of acquiring the silica business and is on time with its investments to build a plant in Nellore for nutraceutical business with Rs 270-odd crore. As for the capex guidance for FY19, Mukundan said the company has a normal range of Rs 500 crore but will trend higher than that because of the additional investment in nutraceutical plant. In the coming year, the company will have three strong drivers for revenues \u2014 consumer business, speciality business and industrial chemicals business. For the full year ended March 31, 2018, Tata Chemicals reported income from operations on consolidated basis of Rs 10,345 crore, with net profit at Rs 1,560 crore, a growth of 39%. The company\u2019s consolidated net debt was down from Rs 5,573 crore in March 2017 to Rs 1,860 crore as on March 31, 2018.