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ITC wants to create world-class brands: Y C Deveshwar
The Economic Times - 31 Jul 2014

ITC Ltd wants to create world-class brands for which it would strengthen its  FMCG business, chairman of the diversified conglomerate, Y C Deveshwar, today  said.

"Diversification of ITC into the FMCG sector had helped the company in  creating multiple drivers of growth. Today the FMCG business of the company is  the fastest growing in the country. Now we want to create world class brands  from India," Deveshwar told reporters here.

He said diversification of the ITC portfolio had given some inherent strength  to the company. "In the past there was lot of opposition when ITC was  venturing out into non-tobacco areas. Building brands is not so easy. When our  brands dominate here, then ITC will think of taking them outside the  country".

Deveshwar said if the FMCG brands  continue to succeed and develop into world class brands, then ITC would engage  in newer areas in this segment. In his AGM speech, Deveshwar had said that the  revenue from the FMCG business was expected to reach Rs 1 lakh crore by 2030.

Asked whether ITC would gradually reduce its dependence on the tobacco business  because of high incidence of taxation at both central and state levels, Deveshwar said: "If ITC is not  in this business, then somebody else will be till there is demand for the  product".

"If nobody is there, then there will be imports and cigarettes will be  illegally smuggled into the country. So we will be there so that the tobacco  business is in responsible hands like ITC," he said.

The cigarettes business generates cash flows which could be invested in other  areas, he said.

Deveshwar said the company was investing around Rs 25,000 crore across 65  projects in the country. "There are lot of delays taking place in getting  the projects executed, the main being related to land."

Other areas where ITC was willing to venture out was tea, coffee, chocolate,  fruit juices and dairy products. Regarding the hotels division, Deveshwar said  the company was implementing eight projects involving 3,000 rooms. Tobacco  business was the highest revenue grosser for ITC followed by the agri-business.

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