"I am confident that with our highly competent team we will steer your Company tothe #Next75 years of sustainable and profitable growth."
Having started my BASF career 24 years ago it is truly an honor to now lead yourCompany. I thank you our team and the Board of Directors for the support and confidenceentrusted in me.
It gives me great pleasure to celebrate with you 75 years of incorporation of yourCompany. To commemorate this milestone the Board of Directors of your Company haverecommended a special dividend of Rs. 2/- per Equity Share in addition to a final dividendof Rs. 3/- per Equity Share for the financial year ended 31st March2019 aggregating to Rs. 5/- per Equity Share.
The overall global economic scenario with trade conflicts between US and China had animpact on the Indian manufacturing industry. The financial year 2018-19 has been a mixedbag for us in terms of business performance. It was encouraging to see sales grow by 8%on a comparable basis (adjusted for GST & Excise duty) to reach Rs. 60256.7 million.Our Agricultural Solutions business supported by new product launches performed welldespite below average monsoon last year. Though capacity utilization at our Dahejproduction site improved we faced challenges from a slowdown in various sectors of theeconomy including automotive and rising input costs which impacted our profitability.
During the financial year 2018-19 we achieved several milestones which will aidsustainable growth in future. These include the roll out of customer centricity anddigitalization initiatives. We introduced digital invoicing for enhancing our efficiencyand launched our first-ever "Digital Innovation Day" for cross-sharingand learning of digital possibilities.
Our committed focus on EHS and operational excellence resulted in green ratings forglobal safety audits at our Dahej Thane Mangalore and Kharagpur production sites. Wealso won the Indian Chemical Council Award for Excellence in Management of Environment.
As is the nature of an evolving business we continued our strategic portfoliomanagement initiatives by completing the divestiture of the paper and wet-end business toSolenis Chemicals India Private Limited.
The hard work of your team was recognized at key external and internal platforms duringthe year. Our Agricultural Solutions team saw global recognition at the 18thAGROW awards for its Suraksha Hamesha' initiative and the Construction Chemicalsteam won five external awards. Recently our Cellasto plant at Dahej washonored with the prestigious Ford Q1 certification while Track and Trace' adigitalization initiative bagged the BASF Asia Pacific Customer Service Award.
We successfully organized the first TEDx styled event under the Future Perfect 3.0series at the Innovation Campus (IC) Mumbai. Additionally over 50 sessions were alsohosted at the IC with key stakeholders including customers academia and industry aroundthe themes of co-creation and innovation. Our efforts at boosting Diversity &Inclusion (D&I) initiatives as well as employee morale continued with variousinitiatives from the Fit@BASF Fun@BASF and D&I teams. We saw great employeeparticipation and commitment to society as we launched our corporate volunteering program Connected to Care.
Looking ahead we remain committed to moving towards better profitability. We believethat customers are at the center of everything we do and we will further build on oursolid foundation by exceeding their expectations. I am confident that with our highlycompetent team we will steer your Company to the #Next75 years of sustainable andprofitable growth.
Thank you for your continued support and look forward to celebrating many milestoneswith you.
With best wishes