We have had another year of excellent performance with Sales growth of 11.1% and Profitafter Tax of 8.4% over the prior year. We have witnessed encouraging growth in most of ourbusiness units in spite of external headwinds.
Our purpose has been to help people live healthier fuller lives and enhance thepromise of the human potential in all aspects and stages of life. This purpose hasinspired us to outperform consistently despite a challenging market environment.
During the year India continued to be one of the fastest growing major economies inthe world with GDP growth of 6.8% in 2016-17. The country's economic fundamentals remainstrong and we expect this growth trajectory to continue. The year 2016-17 was marked byvarious institutional reforms but two that deserve mention are the passage of the GSTBill and the policy thrust towards a less-cash formal economy. While demonetisationcaused temporary hardships in the second half of the year it was an important economicreform with long-term positive ramifications for all sectors of the economy.
Even though there have been challenges such as drug price controls and enhancedregulations India's pharmaceutical sector which is worth Rs.1179 billion showsencouraging trends. Your Company has remained steadfast in its commitment to valuecreation. This has been possible owing to our consistent innovation diversified productportfolio brand excellence and able management of a dynamic talent pool.
Considering the consistent performance by your Company the Board is pleased torecommend a dividend of Rs.40 per share against Rs.35 per share for the previous year.
We deliver superior solutions for patients across markets. We focus on innovation andmaintaining quality standards as a way of life. Our impressive portfolio of more than 110brands across different therapeutic areas continue to lead the industry. 6* of our top 10brands are at number 1 position in their respective markets and these top 10 brandscontribute 66% of our core business. We also launched 10 new products this year.
We are committed to building a future-ready organization with sustained growth over thelong term. Our talent pool of over 3000 highly committed employees remain our biggestadvantage in a highly competitive industry. We have developed specific programmes toencompass the employee lifecycle from attracting the best talent both internally andexternally to retaining them via career management rewards and development programsacross all cadres.
We have always been recognised for our efforts. I am delighted to share that yourCompany's Annual Report for the year ended March 31 2016 has been awarded the mostprestigious Gold Shield Award by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India forExcellence in Financial Reporting. There are several other accolades and recognitionsreceived by the Company during the year in categories like digital marketing mobileapplication excellence in training etc.
I am pleased to inform you that your new Managing Director Ambati Venu who joined inSeptember 2016 comes with extensive management experience and I am confident that theCompany will continue to progress under his leadership.
In the coming years India's pharmaceutical industry is expected to witnessdouble-digit growth and with the Government's commitment to drive reforms in the sectorthe opportunity landscape will further expand. Higher insurance coverage enhanceddisposable income and greater health awareness are expected to act as growth catalysts forthe industry and your Company going forward. With our diverse solutions we will continueto help people achieve great health.
On behalf of the entire Board I take this opportunity to thank all our partnersespecially the doctors pharmacists vendors and bankers for their sustained faith andongoing support. I would like to thank all our employees for their commitment dedicationand determination.
I also express my gratitude to all our shareholders for their continued trust in theCompany and the Board of Directors for their invaluable guidance.