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ITC Q4 Net Up 18% to Rs 2,278 Cr, Non-Cigarette Business in Black
The Economic Times - 24 May 2014

BREAK-EVEN Profit rises to Rs 2,278 crore, sales grow 11.5% to Rs 32,882 crore

Cigarettes-to-hotels major ITC on Friday said its net profit jumped 18% in the fourth quarter to March to Rs. 2,278 crore on higher sales.

The company net sales grew 11.8% to Rs. 9,145.1 crore during the three months.

Net profit for FY14 rose 18.5% to Rs.8,785.21 crore, while net sales grew 11.5% to Rs. 32,882.5 crore.

The Kolkata-based conglomerate said it achieved breakeven of non-cigarette FMCG business in 2013-14, a year ahead of analyst expectations.

This business -comprising packaged food, personal care, lifestyle retail and stationery products business -reported a profit of Rs. 21.82 crore for the fiscal against a loss of Rs.81.25 crore in the previous fiscal.

ITC chairman YC Deveshwar had set a target to make the non-cigarette FMCG business profitable before his retirement, which is due in 2017.

The company has been betting on this business to de-risk dependence on its flagship cigarette business.

Analysts say break-even of this business will boost ITC's profit margins, as the cigarette business has been generating the huge investments required in the personal care and packaged food businesses until now.

The company's non-cigarette FMCG business reported a 17% jump in net sales for the full fiscal at Rs. 8,099.2 crore.

The cigarette business sales grew by more than 10% to Rs. 15,458 crore, which analysts attribute to more than a 15% increase in cigarette prices during the fiscal. The cigarette sales volume is yet to be ascertained.

The company said its board has recommended a dividend of Rs. 6 per ordinary share of Re 1 each for 2013-14, which will be paid on July 31.

Shares of ITC slipped 0.77% on Friday to close at Rs. 342.1 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.