ITC Ltd has reported a profit after tax of Rs 449 crore for the quarter to December 31, 2004, an increase of 18% on the figure for the previous year. Net turnover increased by nearly 11% to Rs 1,795 crore during the same period. Pre-tax profit grew by nearly 13% to Rs 639 crore. The earnings per share for the latest quarter was Rs 18.10.
ITC cited higher cigarette sales, a better showing by the hotels, paperboards, paper and packaging segments, as well as a ramp-up of its new forays for the better figures.
In cigarettes, one of the two sub-divisions of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment, ITC said it focused on "world class quality" to overcome the "challenging environment" created by the ban on cigarette advertisements and the education cess of 2% on excise.
In the other part of the FMCG segment, which consists of relatively new forays into branded packaged foods, ITC said all businesses are powering ahead.
The branded packaged foods business was scaled up rapidly, with new items in the biscuit range. ITC said it aims to launch a slew of "differentiated products" while establishing outsourced and distributed manufacturing capacities.
In the ready-to-eat segment, the quarter saw the launch of four variants each of conserves and chutneys in the Mumbai market. While Aashirvaad atta claimed leadership position, the brand was expanded into the cooking pastes and ready-meals categories.