It gives me immense pleasure to share our performance for the fiscal year 2018-19 andprospective for the ensuing year.
In the last fiscal ended March 2019 the Indian economy reportedly grew at 7.3% due toan upswing in consumption and investments especially during the second half of the year.Despite higher oil prices and rupee depreciation putting pressure on demand positiveslike lower inflation structural reforms including the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Codesmoother implementation of the Goods and Services Tax [GST) and bank recapitalization isaiding higher growth prospects. In fact for the first time India is expected to recordfastest growth in economy at 7.5% as compared to 6.2% for China.
In the same fiscal your company delivered a heartening performance as a result ofcontinued focus on growth momentum value-addition contemporary product ranges andcreating shareholder value. In FY19 GHCL registered a revenue of around Rs. 3385 Crore asagainst Rs. 2968 Crore in FY18 profit before financial expenses and depreciation for FY19is Rs. 784 Crore as compared to Rs. 649.17 Crore for FY18. PBT (profit before tax) forFY19 is at Rs. 541 Crore compared to Rs. 415 Crore in FY18. In accordance with ourobjective of increasing shareholder value and best corporate governance practices thecompany has declared a dividend of Rs. 5 per share at a healthy dividend payout of 16.38%.
The last fiscal witnessed a healthy growth in the demand for Soda Ash globally exceptfor China where there was a slowdown. The domestic Soda Ash market witnessed a growth indemand of around 5% in FY19. Your company successfully completed its brownfield capacityexpansion increasing the current capacity to 11 Lakh tonnes during FY19. Your companyproduced 9.7 Lakh tonnes of soda ash in fiscal year 2018-19 and achieved highest sales at9.3 Lakh tonnes. The next fiscal indicates stable demand for soda ash with the maindrivers being strong growth in detergent and float glass and silicate and chemicalsectors. In order to responsibly maximize value for stakeholders your company hasstrengthened its Research and Development (R & D) activities so as to improveoperational efficiency and productivity and introduced innovative solutions by focusingon environmental sustainability and energy conservation projects among other measures.
Consumer Products Division under the brand I-FLO expanded its product portfolio andincreased the number of SKUs to more than 60. With improved market reach distributionand an integrated approach to marketing it aims to consolidate its business in alloperating locations.
The Textiles business despite global headwinds has registered a Revenue of Rs. 1202Crores as compared to Rs. 1046 Crores for FY18. The headwinds were mostly caused by asurge in online sales coupled with a shift in the wallet spends by the millennial customerwhich led to several retailers in the US filing for bankruptcy and rampant store closures.We were able to avert this situation due to our strategic focus on the four pillarstrategy which revolves around sustainability traceability innovation and giving back tosociety. The competitive advantage of strengthening the marketing product development andoperating teams is now evident and is likely to result in huge improvement in theproliferation of business across geographies with better margins in times to come. InSeptember 2018 "CIRKULARITY" a brand that supports the Circular Economy andfocusses on the 3 R's - Reduce Reuse and Recycle was launched. MEDITASI a unique rangeof bedding that promotes "health and wellness" and NILE HARVEST a range ofcompletely traceable Egyptian cotton bedding was launched in March 2019.
GHCL has also stepped up its focus on the e-commerce business in the US and is workingwith major retailers like Amazon Walmart J C Penney etc. The company has launched itsown Dot Com brand called AURAA which sells primarily on Amazon and is getting goodreviews and ratings. The Yarn division's performance bettered further compared to 2017-18which is mostly attributable to introduction of Air jet spinning and addition ofvalueadded yarn segment. Both these initiatives have evoked a positive response from thecustomers.
In FY19 your company was recognized as one of the "Best Workplaces inManufacturing Sector" by Great Place to Work Institute consecutively for the secondyear in a row. GHCL also won the Dun & Bradstreet Corporate Award 2018 for itsoutstanding performance. A Gold Award for quality control by International Convention onQuality Concept Circle flCQCC) and Singapore and India and Manufacturing Excellence (IME]Awards 2018 award by Frost & Sullivan are a few more recognitions received by GHCL.
Sustainability is a core element of your Company's four pillar business strategy basedon Responsible Stewardship Social Inclusiveness Promoting Relationship and Adding Value.As a proponent of inclusive growth GHCL believes in giving back to the society thusundertaking projects for overall development and welfare. Through its "GHCLFoundation Trust" the Company spent Rs. 9.10 cr on CSR activities in FY19.
In order to support your company's belief in sustainable development through harmoniouseconomic growth social inclusion and environment protection your company has decided toadopt governance based reporting and the <IR> framework developed by theInternational Integrated Reporting Council. I present to you the first Integrated Reportas a part of this Annual Report
I conclude by thanking all of you for supporting GHCL in its Mission to responsiblymaximize value for all its stakeholders.