We at Abbott India have always worked with a dual focus - The first is our mission tohelp people lead healthier and better lives and the second is to continuously reward ourshareholders by excelling in our financial and business performance. Your Companysuccessfully accomplished both these objectives. Once again we achieved a remarkableSales growth of 12.8% over the prior year which was 1.6 times* the market growth.
As I look back this was a landmark year for economies across the globe and India. Asper the IMF the world economy posted a growth of 3.8% in 2017 with a notable rebound inglobal trade. At US $2.6 trillion the Indian economy became the sixth largest in theworld. The country is well positioned to accelerate its growth to 7.4% in the currentfiscal and to 7.8% next year as it recovers from the twin impacts of demonetisation andGST roll out.
The Indian Pharmaceutical Market is estimated to be about 3.3% of the globalPharmaceutical Industry in value and 10% in volume. This is expected to grow to US $55billion by 2020 thereby emerging as the sixth largest pharmaceutical market globally.
The Government of India has taken significant steps towards the promotion of thisindustry in India. Pharma Vision 2020' aims at making India a global leader inend-to-end drug manufacture. Approval time for new facilities has been reduced to boostinvestments. The single-window facility has been announced to expedite new drug approvalsand is expected to give a push to the "Make in India" initiative.
During the year all our business units performed well and contributed to the overallsuccess of the Company. Eight out of our top ten products remained at No 1* in theirrespective therapy segments and these ten products contributed to over 70% of the corebusiness.
Your Directors have proposed a final dividend of Rs.50 and special dividend of Rs.5 perequity share of Rs.10 each for the year ended March 312018.
We at Abbott India are redoubling our efforts to make quality branded pharmaceuticalproducts accessible to more people in the country. We launched 21 new products this yearand are gearing up to introduce over 100 new products in the next five years. Our effortsto spread education and awareness about various diseases are also intensifying. Ourknowledge sharing initiatives with Healthcare Professionals - doctors medicalfraternities and pharmacists - are also expanding. Our commitment to helping people unlocklife's possibilities through the power of health - reflected in LIFE. TO THE FULLEST. - isa commitment that is intrinsically aligned with a prosperous and healthy India.
In order to deepen our patient commitment we are foraying into sub-therapies withinour established therapeutic domains. Our beyond-the- pill orientation is aimed at givingmuch more than just medicine to our customers.
Our emphasis is on creating a sustainable growth blueprint which is futuristic andviable. Our constant focus on innovation diversifying the product portfolio maintainingbrand excellence technology driven initiatives and value-added knowledge sharinginitiatives will further strengthen your Company's positioning as a committed capable andcompassionate organisation.
Your Company truly values its employees. We have an employee pool of over 3300talented and committed workforce which is one of our most valuable assets. Their hardwork and commitment has helped the Company to push all boundaries and stay ahead of thecurve even in a very volatile and competitive environment. Altogether we have a holisticapproach towards growth development health and wellness.
I am proud to announce that your Company also won several prestigious awards this yearincluding the most prestigious "Best Companies To Work For" by Business Today.
We sincerely recognise the contributions of our business partners and continuerewarding them in various ways. For instance we were the first company to compensate ourstockists to cover their losses on account of transition to GST thereby also ensuringcontinuous availability of medicines at the market place. Such initiatives help us buildlong lasting relationships with our business partners.
Next year will mark the completion of 75 years of your Company in India - anotherlandmark in our history. We have once again developed strong strategies to ensure ourbusiness continues to outperform. Our focus remains on entering new high-potentialtherapy areas while maintaining leadership in the areas we dominate. We will continue topush in under leveraged geographies and rural markets and remain committed to beresponsive and agile.
With deep regret we inform you about the untimely demise of Mr Ranjan Kapur. Wesincerely appreciate him for his significant contributions. Mr Bhasker Iyer and Ms NancyBerce resigned as Directors upon their retirement from Abbott. We thank them for theircontributions and wish them good health and success in their future endeavours. We welcomeMs Anisha Motwani and Mr Jawed Zia who have recently joined the Board.
On behalf of the entire Board I thank all our valued partners - our bankers doctorspharmacists and vendors who have always been very supportive and important contributors toour success.
I am also thankful to all members of the Abbott family - our customers employees andabove all our shareholders who have continued to place faith in the Management of theCompany.