I am pleased to write to you at the completion of fiscal 2016-17.
These are momentous times with many structural changes happening inlegislation economy and business environment. With the onset of GST India will movetowards a unified tax structure greater compliance and more digitization. GST and othersteps being taken to bring unorganized sector into the formal economy will Benefit theorganized sector as it will be able to navigate the transition better and re-invent itselfmore quickly in the new environment.
Following demonetization of high-value currency notes the FMCG sectorfaced poor consumer demand and massive destocking in retail and wholesale channels whichare more dependent on cash. Sales improved sequentially in the fourth quarter as currencycame back in the system. The Company navigated these challenges and ended the fiscal2016-17 with Sales at C 7680 crore and Net Profit at C 1277 crore. The Company'sEBIDTA margins expanded to 23.5% as compared to 22.1% in the previous year.
Despite the tough times our key brands performed well with Dabur RedPaste coming close to the C 500 crore turnover mark and Dabur Anmol Coconut Oil all set tocross the C 100 crore mark. Dabur Red Paste has in fact become the third largesttoothpaste brand in the country today. The Foods business which includes juices andculinary products reported strong growth almost touching C 1000 crore of sales in India.
As the millennial consumers embrace modern trends habits andlifestyles they are also increasingly going back to their roots and taking pride intradition and are today more comfortable with their Indian-ness. This trend which emergedin the last few years gained momentum with the growing awareness about the Benefits ofAyurveda and Ayurvedic products. To tap these opportunities Dabur strengthened its healthcare portfolio by introducing several time-tested Ayurvedic remedies in modern day formatsto cater to the new generation.
The Company launched Madhurakshak Activ an advanced product foreffective management of Diabetes developed by Central Council of Research in AyurvedicSciences (CCRAS) under the Ministry of AYUSH. Dabur also launched Honitus Hot Sip anAyurvedic Kadha (cough and cold remedy) in convenient tea-stick and sachet formats. Ourinitiatives and products backed by scientific validation have helped us attain leadershipin the Ayurvedic healthcare space. Going forward too the company has several suchinitiatives lined up to present Ayurveda in a modern contemporary avatar to furtherconsolidate its position in the market.
As consumers globally take to holistic well-being we are investing inscience and innovation to build new capabilities and engines of growth. The year saw Dabur3le two new patent applications in 2016-17 and four of our patents were published bringingus a step closer to these patents being awarded. We also conducted 14 pre-clinical andthree clinical studies further establishing Dabur as the Science-based Ayurveda expert inthe country.
As part of our go-to-market strategy Dabur has revamped the salesstructure by splitting the front-end sales force across portfolios and geographies toprovide sharper focus on each of the three verticals of Healthcare Home & PersonalCare and Foods. Our marketing mix was also revamped to better reach out to the millennialaudience that spends a lot of time in the digital space. Special campaigns and Influencerprogrammes were crafted for the social media to successfully target this consumer base andcreate awareness about the time-tested Benefits and e3cacy of Dabur products.
One of the most notable trends that we are witnessing today is thedigital revolution. This is going to have a significant impact on consumer behavior andmarket structure in future. As more and more consumers access the internet it is becominga key channel for gathering information arriving at purchase decisions and transactingonline. Recognizing this as an opportunity Dabur is pursuing an aggressive e-commerce anddigital marketing strategy to promote market and sell its products online. The Company isstrengthening its online presence through partnership with large e-retailers and its ownportals. Increasing focus on digital marketing online campaigns and social media willhelp us access the millennials who are going to drive strong trends of consumption in thecoming times.
At the same time the rural consumers are not to be ignored as withimproving farming technologies modern irrigation methods and increase in other sources ofemployment the rural economy is likely to grow and consumption of consumer products isbound to rise. Dabur has always had a good presence in rural markets and will buildfurther upon its existing infrastructure to tap the opportunities that arise in thehinterland.
In the overseas markets Dabur continues to focus on its natural rangeof personal care products that have been tailored to suit local tastes and aspirationsacross geographies. While Dabur's International business faced some pressure duringthe year in the form of sharp currency devaluation and demand deceleration due togeopolitical headwinds we are hopeful of a revival riding on the growing global consumerpreference for herbal and natural products our initiatives to launch unique value-addedofferings and enhanced distribution reach through new go-to-market platforms such ase-commerce. Investments have also been made in increasing localization of ourmanufacturing base particularly in Africa to capture e3ciencies and build localizedsupply chain.
Despite the tough environment we have not lost sight of ourresponsibility towards the Environment and the Community. Several initiatives were put inplace during the year to substantially reduce our raw water consumption e3uentgeneration solid waste and hazardous waste generation besides cutting down ourGreenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions at all our manufacturing units across the country. TheCompany also undertook welfare programmes to contribute to the communities wherever we dobusiness. Details of these activities are provided in other sections of the Annual Report.
At Dabur our focus has always been on delivering superior returns andmaximizing value for our shareholders. We are excited about what lies ahead and we willcontinue to tap some of the emerging opportunities to deliver industry-best growth. Onthis note let me take this opportunity to thank our management team our dedicatedemployees suppliers customers partners and shareholders for their unabated support andfaith in the company. Your support through thick and thin has been a great source ofstrength for us. We look forward to your continued support in the coming years.
Dr. Anand C. Burman