It has been over a year since I took over as Executive Chairman of the Centrum Groupand I am happy to share that with the collective efforts of our entire team FY 2016-17has been a year of action and growth for the Group. A multi-pronged strategy of growingexisting businesses through innovative offerings and greater use of research &technology venturing into new verticals strengthening the team with proven industrytalent and entering into new strategic tie-ups with organisations of repute allcontributed in making it a year of achievements and significant growth. I believe that thevibrancy and growth momentum being experienced in the Indian economy today the newopportunities for businesses like ours coupled with our ideas expertise offerings andstrong relationships will take us faster and further on our growth trajectory. Our focusin FY 2017-18 will continue to be Growth through leveraging our internal strengthsand the huge external opportunities that the economy offers.
In recent months the economy has witnessed many positive developments. Multiple policyactions geared towards bringing about a positive economic change have been initiated bythe Government. GST implementation would streamline the tax structure levied on consumersand businesses. This broad based wave of change extends to other aspects of the economy aswell. The proposed amendments to the Banking Regulation Act are designed towards easingthe credit jam in the public sector banking space. The non-performing assets problem hasbeen acknowledged and once this is addressed it will send a further positive signal toall stakeholders. Real Estate as an asset class has dominated mindshare for several yearsbut it too has seen several ups and downs. The Real Estate Regulation Act is clearly astellar example of bringing accountability in a sector which has legacy issues.Manufacturing access to information and services housing and job creation are coreelements of nation building. Focused initiatives like Make in India' DigitalIndia' Housing for all' and Skill India' can be considered as building blockswhich will shape the next phase of positive changes.
Looking back at FY 2016-17 I am pleased to share that all our existing businesses havedemonstrated steady growth. We have ventured into several new ones as well. On aconsolidated basis the Group's profit (EBITDA) for FYE March 31 2017 was ` 130.19 croreas compared to ` 75.19 crore in the previous year. The net profit on a consolidated basiswas ` 30.01 crore as compared to ` 26.16 crore in the previous year. (Previous financialyear was a nine month period) CentrumDirect Ltd. (CDL) specializes in travel relatedforeign exchange services and is our largest revenue generator. In FY 2016-17 the Companyhad significant achievements. It bagged exclusive rights to operate money exchangecounters at Pune Gaya Ahmedabad and Jaipur Airports. This makes us The LargestForeign Exchange Provider' at Airports with money exchange counters at 18 airports inIndia. We were also the first money exchange company in India to launch an innovativeMobile Wallet backed by a Physical Card Centrum Pay which was introduced toefficiently meet the cash crunch faced during demonetization. It was well appreciated byinternational visitors. Our online forex portal www. centrumforex.com successfullyhandled over 1 million transactions.
Centrum Wealth Management Ltd. (CWML) had a year of profitable growth enlarging itsclient roster. It was voted as The Best Domestic Private Bank' in India byAsiamoney. This recognition validates our commitment of providing excellent service toclients. Additionally CWML entered into strategic tie-ups with Doha Bank Qatar andLakshmi Vilas Bank to offer their clients the basket of Centrum's Wealth ManagementServices. These partnerships will significantly expand our reach not only in India butalso in the Middle East.
Centrum Broking Ltd. (CBL) grew by empanelling new franchisees and strengthening itssales and research teams. Taking advantage of the bullish sentiment in the primarymarkets our Broking and Investment Banking teams have successfully structured a number ofQIPs & IPOs. In the IPO space we were lead managers to S.P Apparels IPO that wassignificantly oversubscribed and listed at a substantial premium. Additionally we werethe sole book running lead managers to the QIPs of FIEM Industries and Lakshmi Vilas Bank.Our dedicated debt team has been quite active in the stressed asset resolution area byassisting a number of corporates through CDR OTS JLF and Bilateral restructuring etc.
FY2016-17 saw the launch of several new businesses Our Insurance Business whichcommenced operations during the year has grown steadily and works as a distributor withcompanies like Bajaj Allianz Cigna TTK HDFC Life etc.
In November 2016 we received the Certificate of Registration from the National HousingBank to commence operations in the lucrative low to mid income housing finance business inIndia. Within a short span Centrum Housing Finance Ltd (CHFL) has opened nine Officesacross Madhya Pradesh & Gujarat. CHFL will focus on servicing tier 2 and 3 citiesinitially. We have also commenced operations in SME Financing which provides term loansworking capital and loans against shares to Small and Medium Enterprises pan India underCentrum Financial Services Ltd. These two new businesses are based on a lending modelwhich supplement our fee based revenue model in place for many years. FY 2016-17 also sawthe launch of our maiden Private Equity Fund Kalpavriksh which will invest inmid-sized unlisted companies with a growth potential in Fintech Education TechnologyHealthcare and FMCG sectors.
The combination of the new lending businesses and our existing fee based businesses hasstrengthened our basket of offerings. I am happy to share that large foreign investors New York Life Jacob Ballas and Evolvence have acquired a minority stake in ourforeign exchange business. These funds will be channelized into the new lending businessesand generate further growth.
The economy is currently at a stage where a slight pickup in demand can lead to asignificant improvement in growth. As I mentioned earlier the opportunity is out therefor us to grab. As an organisation we have aspirational plans for each of our businessesand I am optimistic that we will achieve all our goals.
I would like to end by expressing my gratitude to all our clients employeesinvestors bankers regulators and shareholders for the trust they have reposed inus. My special thanks also go to our Board members for their guidance. We look forward toyour continued support in our growth trajectory as we create long term value for all ourstakeholders.
Jaspal Singh Bindra
Chandir Gidwani Jaspal Singh Bindra
Chairman Emeritus Executive Chairman