Tata Chemicals today reported a 23.37 per cent growth in consolidated net profit for the March quarter at Rs 355.90 crore, mainly driven by healthy margins in chemicals, soda ash and salt business and gains from sale of its urea business to Yara Fertilisers India.
The company's net stood at Rs 288.48 crore in the same quarter last year.
"Our key businesses including chemicals, soda ash and salt business continued to perform very well with healthy margins. We had record production in Tata Salt and in the consumer portfolio we continue to expand our product range. We recently launched new products like 'khichdi' and 'chila mix'," Tata Chemicals' managing director R Mukundan told reporters here.
The revenue for the quarter declined by 1.40 per cent to Rs 2,555.08 crore, compared with Rs 2,591.59 crore in the same period last year.
"The decline in revenue is mainly due to roll out of the goods and service tax (GST) from last July," he said.
The company's net debt reduced to Rs 1,860 crore as on March 31, 2018, against Rs 5,573 crore as on March 31, 2017.
"We are expecting to become cash positive very shortly as we continue to pay down our debt," Mukundan said.
The revenue growth will continue to be driven by the three key businesses - consumer, speciality and industrial chemical, according to him.
The consumer business, through Tata Salt, continued its leadership in the national branded salt segment, while the chemicals business registered a robust performance and the recently launched MediKarb, a pharma-grade bicarb was well received in the market, Mukundan said.
On the global front, the company's North American and Kenya operations are now performing well, while the UK business showed steady performance despite operational disturbances earlier this year, he added.
In the speciality business, the company seeded two businesses, a Nutraceuticals and highly dispersible Silica business.
"We are expecting to take over the silica operations in 60 days. And our nutraceuticals plant will become operational by the end of FY19," he said.
"Our agrochemicals subsidiary, Rallis, registered steady performance and the seeds business in Metahelix continues its growth trajectory. We have successfully completed our first stage of transformation with the exit from fertiliser business," he said.
Meanwhile, the company's board of directors today recommended a dividend of Rs 11 per share and a special dividend of Rs 11 per share to reflect the sale of the fertiliser business, aggregating to Rs 22 per share, for the for fiscal year 2017-18.
The company's scrip ended at Rs 718.70, down 3.30 per cent today on the BSE, against 0.86 per cent decline in the benchmark.
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