It has been a year of unprecedented challenges and I fervently hopethat you and your family are keeping well. Millions of lives have been lost during theyear and livelihoods affected.
Both the global as well as the Indian economy have borne the brunt ofthis loss slipping into a temporary recession in H1 FY 2020-21. Some green shoots becamevisible from Q3 of the year. However the second wave of COVID-19 turned out to be moredevastating than the first leading to intermittent lockdowns in several states anddisruptions along the supply chain. It was not before sometime around June 2021 that thenumber of COVID cases began to decline and the pace of vaccination in India picked up. Ipersonally believe that the worst is behind us and we are poised to witness a steadygrowth from here onwards as the rate of infection further comes down and we are able tobuild herd immunity as more and more people get vaccinated.
Taking Care of our People
We at Aarti industries are committed to 'Care' for our peopleenvironment society and other stakeholders. Committed to 'Care' we provided medical andfinancial assistance to COVID-affected employees including contractual staff and theirfamily members. We identified healthcare facilities near our locations to ensure easyaccess to medical help for our employees and workmen. Currently 97% of our employees havebeen vaccinated. Other initiatives included setting up of a dedicated COVID care centre incollaboration with our NGO partner at Vapi distribution of COVID-19 essentials such asmedical equipments PPT kits sanitisers and oxygen cylinder etc. Additionally wedistributed foodgrain to daily-wage earners in the nearby communities. With these focusedinitiatives we touched more than 45000 lives.
I am happy to report that despite the challenging external environmentduring FY 2020-21 AIL demonstrated phenomenal resilience. While our gross revenues grewby over 8% Y-o-Y to '5023 crores our exports witnessed a spike of over 11% Y-o-Y to'2186 crores. EBIDTA grew marginally at '982 crores. During the year a notice oftermination in respect of one of our long-term contracts was given by a customer due tochange in the customer's strategy. Our pharma business continued to see both growth andmargin expansion on the back of better operating leverage from higher volumes and ourfocus on regulated markets and value-added products.
We are committed to our strategic expansion plans and are on track togrow our capacities. We have a robust pipeline of new products under development and arefocusing on enhancing the share of value-added products in our portfolio to gain moreprominence in the global market. With continued investments in R&D focus onsustainable production and improvement of our internal competencies in line with globalbest practices I am sure we will ensure long-term growth for the Company. In factdespite the challenges this year we invested over '1300 crores in capex 14% more thanlast year. We also supported our people by enabling work-from-home and providingnecessary medical support to them and their families. We remained committed to employeesby giving them job assurance and salaries on time even in tough times. We in factrecruited people strengthening our teams including our R&D team. We solidified thefoundation for our exponential growth in the future.
Another significant aspect of our operations during the year was theinitiation of commercial operations at our expanded Jhagadia and Dahej facilities. We alsoacquired over 100 acres of land in Gujarat for the expansion of our Speciality Chemicalsand Pharmaceuticals segments. We are expecting to have 1.7x-2x growth in our profitabilityby FY 2023-24 and 3x-4x growth by FY 2026-27.
Growth in Chemicals
As global corporations seek to diversify their supply chain to decreasedependence on China a significant opportunity awaits India. Competitive advantages due torecent reduction in corporate taxes 100% FDI in the chemicals sector the PetroleumChemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) scheme PLI for various downstreamindustries and other schemes promoting 'Make in India' significant improvement in ease ofdoing business in India are all positive factors that favour local manufacturers.
The scenario for speciality chemicals is even better with the Indianspeciality chemicals market poised to grow at a CAGR (2020-25) of 10-12% as against theglobal estimate of 3-4%. India occupies 4% of the global share of speciality chemicals andthe per capita consumption levels of speciality chemicals is far below the global averagewhich provide significant headroom for AIL's growth in the speciality chemicals segment inIndia.
The increasing pace of urbanisation a growing young population with adisposable income will translate into a growing demand for end-user industries such asfood processing personal care and home care. This will add to the growth in thespeciality chemicals sector. Although the global chemicals industry is facing uncertainconditions the China plus one strategy of global enterprises higher domestic and exportdemand import substitution on the back of government strategies such as 'Make in India'and 'vocal for local' and enhanced budgetary allocations augur well for the Indianchemicals sector. We believe that our sustained investments in technology and R&D willequip us to meet this increased demand.
The Indian pharma firms enjoy a solid reputation globally and supplyover 20% of the total global generics by value. Over 40% of the US drug market by volumesis served by Indian pharmaceutical players. With the largest number of USFDA-approvedplants in the world the Indian pharmaceutical industry is expected to play a moresignificant role in the global trade. At AIL our investments in R&D our integratedvalue chain and scalability are expected to go a long way in helping us maintain ourcompetitive advantage. Additionally government support for domestic manufacturing withmore thrust on import substitution will lead to Indian pharmaceutical players capturing abigger share of the global pharmaceutical market. At AIL our pharmaceutical segment isgrowing at a CAGR (2017-21) of 20%. At the same time we are also consistently growing ourEBIT margins (24% in FY 2020-21). Going forward we are committed to unlocking growthopportunities in this segment with continued investments and focused efforts on R&D indeveloping new products.
Our ESG Focus
Sustainable and inclusive growth have been our core objective sinceinception which is also reflected in our values of care integrity and excellence. We arecommitted to ensuring the safety of our employees through regular process audits higheruse of automation and other safety initiatives. We are ensuring sustainability at everystage of our production process through the use of cutting-edge technologies ourstate-of-the-art ZLD manufacturing facilities greater use of renewable and wasteresources for energy and compliance with global norms which have boosted investor andcustomer confidence in our capabilities. We recently received the prestigious GoldEcovadis Medal which places AIL in the league of the top 5% sustainable enterprises inthe world. For its sustained efforts AIL was conferred with FICCI Company of the Yearaward 2021 and is also a proud recipient of the Responsible Care logo awarded by theIndian Chemical Council. Our community welfare measures through focused interventions andbest practices in governance ensure growth across the three bottom lines of people planetand profit.
At AIL we are playing a significant role in India's development as amanufacturing hub for quality chemicals and pharmaceuticals. In the coming years Ibelieve we will be able to further strengthen our position and play a more integral roleas a cost and quality leader on the basis of our inherent strengths.
I take this opportunity to thank my fellow Board members the seniormanagement of the Company and our people including our contractual staff who have workedrelentlessly to ensure AIL's success. I thank all our stakeholders especially our valuedshareholders for reposing their faith in our capabilities. Together let us continue thisexciting journey unlocking value all the way through sustainable means.