With global economic activity now picking up steam after a long-awaited cyclicalrecovery in investment manufacturing and trade the world growth is expected to rise from3.1 percent in 2016 to over 3.5 percent in 2017 and 3.6% in 2018. Stronger activityexpectations of robust global demand reduced deflationary pressures and optimisticfinancial markets are all upside developments that we are now witnessing in key economiczones. But at the same time structural impediments to a stronger recovery and balance ofrisks that remains tilted towards the negatives is a challenge in the short to mediumterm. We surely need sound economic strategies and policy framework in both advancedeconomies as well as emerging and developing markets to tackle a number of commonchallenges in a global economy that is now increasingly becoming integrated. In India thedoomsday scenario projected by most economic think tanks notwithstanding the impact ofdemonetization on the Indian economy has been ephemeral. The demonetization exercise hasushered in several benefits. India has added 91 lakh more tax payers and there is markedshift to digital and online transactions. The resultant increase in tax collection shouldaid infrastructure spending job creation funding of welfare schemes and directly aswell as indirectly in the equitable distribution of wealth. More importantly there is amindset change with an increasing aversion to corruption which augurs well for the futureof the Indian economy.
With demonetization truly behind us it is time for the Indian economy to focus on thenext big bang reform the implementation of Goods and Service Tax. When viewed inconjunction with demonetization the twin measures are fundamental for transparency andgrowth. Demonetization was a trigger and with GST coming later this year this wholeprocess of formalization of economy will get accelerated. Once introduced GST will createone unified national market and cut down the current bottlenecks that lead to highertransaction costs and hurt efficiency.
With the renewed optimism in the economy and despite the short term disruption causedby demonetization your company witnessed good demand for its products in the economy andthat has translated into satisfactory financial performance. We also managed to maintainour profitability despite an increase in prices of raw materials. Importantly we expectthis buoyancy to continue in the coming quarters.
Revenues for the financial year ending 31st March 2017 have risen by 10% toRs. 2980 Crore as compared to Rs. 2716 Crore for the financial year 2015-2016. EBIDTAfor the year grew by 14% to Rs. 724 Crore compared to Rs. 636 Crore. The net profit forthe financial year 2016-2017 grew a robust 51% to Rs. 388 Crore from Rs. 257 Crore in theprevious financial year.
Going forward your company will continue to scout for growth opportunities as thedomestic economy gains momentum and a more stable economic outlook boosts consumerconfidenceand leads to higher spending. We will continue to drive expansion in our keyverticals. The domestic Soda Ash demand witnessed a growth of 6% in FY 2016-17 compared tolast year. All consuming segments including Detergents and Flat Glass Chemicals &Silicates recorded a healthy rebound. The only exception was Container Glass segment thatcontinues to be low key. Our market estimate indicates that downstream demand growth isgradually improving and 2017 is expected to be better than 2016. India's GDP growth inreal terms is slated to be better in the coming Financial Year with the positive impact ofreforms and as a result it is expected that downstream sectors like Detergents and Glassshould do better than last year. The Indian Soda Ash market constitutes of two varieties Light grade (used in detergent industry) & Dense grade (used in Glass industry)with a share of 60% and 40% respectively. The total installed capacity in India was 3.4million tonne per annum. With an estimated production of about 2.8 million tonne per annumin 2016-17 the capacity utilization was around 83%. Going forward we expect the overallindustry capacity to expand by 0.25 lakh tonne in 2017-18 and another 1.25 lakh tonne in2018-19.
Almost all the major Soda ash players are located in the state of Gujarat due to readyavailability of main raw materials namely limestone and salt. However sourcing of thesekey raw materials is posing a major challenge for the industry as the Gujarat governmentis currently not allocating any fresh Lime Stone mines or Land Bank for Salt Works. At theglobal level the new low-cost Turkish supply with a competitive cost base and lowtransport costs relative to the uS producers will continue to influence themarket especially with their forthcoming 2.0Million tonne peer annum supply by 2017 end.
GHCL's soda ash business contributes about 60% of total Indian Standalone revenue. InIndia the company has a significant advantage in maintaining firm control on cost of sodaash due to major captive source of some of the raw materials Salt Limestone &Lignite. GHCL shares highly successful client relationships and is the preferred supplierto all major soda ash consumers and some its marquee clients include Hindustan unileverLimited Ghari Group P&G Patanjali Ayurved Limited Gujarat Borosil Limited PiramalGlass Limited and Phillips. Going forward your company is planning to double its capacityof Sodium Bicarbonate from the current level of 32500 tonne per annum to 65000 tonne perannum to take advantage of the growing market for this product. GHCL has been able tomaintain its domestic market share through a combination of market development pro-activeDirect Customer Relationship management Satisfaction Initiatives and the speedy responseto the changing dynamics of the market place.
GHCL Limited has integrated textile manufacturing facilities with an installed spinningcapacity of around 1.76 lakh spindles and 3320 Rotors (Open End) manufacturing 100%cotton polyester cotton & other blended yarns 162 Air Jet looms 36 million meter ofwide width processing capacity 12 million meter of weaving capacity and 30 million meterof cut & sew facility for manufacturing world class quality merchandise. We have stateof-art plant at Vapi Gujarat that integrates weaving processing and cut & sewfacilities. The Home Textiles division is investing to increase weaving capacity by 18%and processing capacity by 25% which will be operational in 3rd quarter offinancial year 2017-18. GHCL's spinning units in Tamil Nadu are considered to be one ofthe most efficient and modern yarn manufacturing facilities in India. Such excellentproduct development capabilities has put GHCL on the forefront of major global marketslike North America Australia Middle East uK and Europe. GHCL has also started to focuson domestic market and is now working with major organized retail stores and brands fordomestic market.
Overall in the textile business of the company has posted satisfactory performance thisyear which is despite the demonetisation impact. The home textiles business operationshave done reasonably well mainly due to strong customer relations product portfolioconsistent supply of quality products and strengthening organisational structure. This hasled to an increase in capacity utilisation to 93% as compared to 85% last year.
I am glad to inform that there is significant improvement in the margins over lastyear. This has been made possible due to higher capacity utilisation and our relentlesscustomer focus. This has enabled us to successfully strengthen our export markets andresulted in securing large replenishment orders from big global retailers and importers.Some of our valued customers in uSA Europe & Australia include Bed Bath & BeyondTarget HBC Canada Sears Canada K-Mart Revman International TJX Group QVC House ofFraser The White Company Miles Home Fashions Myer and Pillow Talk. The marketsentiment in uSA looks better and the company is focusing on that market for large volumeprograms. We strongly believe that our focus on customer realignment along with innovativeproducts & designs and enhanced product basket with tie ups with private labels willprovide further impetus to both top line and margins. Going forward we expect an increasein demand for yarn as well as prices. However upward fluctuation in cotton price andstrengthening of Indian Rupee are becoming a big concern. India's competitive edge in uSAmarket over Pakistan and China is likely to remain unchanged. With growing urbanisationand improving organised retail in India the Indian textile industry should gain momentumwith growth in domestic market as well. Technological advancement along with favourableGovernment policies should act as a catalyst in textile sector growth. The FMCG segment isthe 4th largest sector in the Indian economy with food products being the leadingsegment constituting 43% of the FMCG market. Going forward GHCL's consumer productsbusiness will be focusing on research & development and innovation as means of growthwith major focus in the "Health and Wellness" platform. The new edible saltplant at Thiruporur became operational in March'17 with a capacity of approximately onelakh tonne per annum. This will be a big boost for sales and can address almost 75% of oursouthern market requirement directly.
The brand "i-FLO" has established a good brand image in the southern statesof India Maharashtra and Goa. The product portfolio of variants of salt honey and spiceshas been well received. As a part of our expansion plan we launched i-FLO spices (insachets) and i-FLO Spices Combo in the market. The coming years will witness pan Indiaexpansion with more elaborate product portfolio.
GHCL has been committed to development of weaker sections of the society for over twodecades now. Your company through "GHCL Foundation Trust" has upgraded its CSRactivities to cover a larger section of the society and provide support to thedowntrodden needy and marginalized citizens. As part of initiatives under CorporateSocial Responsibility the Company has undertaken projects in the areas of SanitationCoastal Area Development Education Agro Based Livelihood Health Rain Water HarvestingWoman Empowerment and Animal Husbandry. Your company believes that Indian economy is nowat the cusp of a transformational change with a series of reforms strong capital flowease of doing business and more spending power creating multiple opportunities. Therecovery that we witnessed in 2016-17 is expected to further strengthen in 2017-18 andeven beyond. The forecast of a normal monsoon in 2017 will only add to the overallbuoyancy. GHCL is fully prepared to take advantage of the expected uptick in demand forour various products.
I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all our stakeholders our employees our investors governments of states where we operate the centralgovernment and as they say last but not the least all our valued customers.