We remain intensely passionate about packaging; thriving on innovation andsustainability
In our industry a combination of enabling government legislation and heightenedconsumer awareness presents an opportunity for industry players to address environmentalconcerns by improving the post-consumer-use flexible packaging waste managementeco-system. In addition at a national level the terrific societal awareness broughtabout by Swachh Bharat will add impetus to and help establish a collectionsegregation recycling and/or reprocessing eco-system of requisite scale and scope.
As a responsible flexible packaging industry leader we have begun to engage on shapinga circular economy for flexible packaging. Currently the post-consumer-use flexiblepackaging waste eco-system is inhabited by several types of players such as ragpickersspecialised waste collectors small-scale recyclers and in urban areas the localmunicipality. Over time this eco-system will undergo a transformation in scale and scope.Our early steps include enrolment in the Extended Producer Responsibility process as partof a larger effort to co-develop innovative and scalable business models for managingpost-consumer-use flexible packaging waste.
We are also beginning to communicate to stakeholders that flexible packaging offersmany advantages particularly in a country as large and diverse as ours where food andother essential goods travel significant distances. From amongst comparable packagingoptions apart from the more conventionally known advantages of protection andconvenience flexible packaging offers one of the lowest life-cycle CO2footprints and helps reduce food wastage.
I want to thank everyone in HPPL for their contribution. Collectively ouraccomplishments in 2018 represent an important stepping stone in our journey ofresponsible profitable growth in a business landscape that is evolving continuously. Weincreased sales to our current set of customers and added quite a few new customers. OurNet Sales at 23691 MINR grew by 11% over 2017 marking a generally positive businessenvironment. However our EBIT at 1527 MINR grew 4.1% over 2017; impacted by frequentincreases in prices of key input materials during the first three quarters of 2018.
Our approach to innovation continues to reflect the essentially bespoke nature of ourbusiness wherein packaging is custom designed to meet needs of distinct customers.However we are increasingly laying greater emphasis on creation of intellectual capitalin the form of patents. In addition a focused development programme to bake-inrecyclability and sustainability in the packaging structure itself is yielding the firstset of products - multi-layer yet made with variants of the same polyolefin family forease of recycling. These are designed to help our esteemed customers achieve theirrespective sustainability ambitions.
Our investment in a state-of-the-art wide-web digital printer gives us a versatileplatform on which we can combine agility customisation and innovation in unique ways. Ourefforts at innovation were recognised externally: Dow Packaging Innovation WorldStarEconomic Times Excellence Polymer SIES SOP Star Awards and IFCA Star Awards came our way.
In keeping with our focus on collaboration and continuous improvement we initiated afresh set of projects to improve agility customer responsiveness and strengthen ourproduct portfolio of sustainable solutions. We carried out a very rapid integration ofAjanta Packaging that we acquired during the year. This helped us realise growth synergiesearly and represents a capability that will stand us in good stead in the future as andwhen we pursue inorganic growth options.
We applied relevant heuristics to key internal processes especially in the HR and theSales and Operations Planning functions. As part of our HR Roadmap we implemented aworld-class Human Resources Information System; this will increase the efficiency andeffectiveness of key processes such as talent management job levelling capabilitybuilding and continuous learning.
Going forward we will grow while focusing on our philosophy of continuous improvement -developing people operations and business competencies as part of our ambition to makeHPPL a world-class company that helps great products reach more people more easily. We aregrateful for the support and recognition our employees customers suppliers shareholdersand other stakeholders gave us during 2018.