Over the years IRCTC has developed a business model that has given thecompany a very firm footing in the fitravel and tourism _of the country. With a diverseproduct and service portfolios we aim to provide our valued customers with integratedsolutions under one roof. In addition to services such as global reservation systemscatering and executive facilities we also provide multi-service solutions to ourdomestic and international customers with respect to tour and travel accommodation andother tourism related requirements.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic Fiscal 21 unfolded with a slew ofunprecedented difficulties for the entire world weighing heavily on human life andimpacting the economy significantly. On a global scale the developing and emergingnations faced the toughest time coping with the crisis. In terms of national economy allsupply-chain networks trade channels and exchange and transfer of commercial goods andservices have been severely impacted on account of the poor economic momentum.
Of all economy sectors the travel and tourism industry was the worsthit as the sector faced an acute existential crisis. With complete lockdown imposed inmost of the countries of the world the international as domestic movement of tourists wastotally restricted leading to operational activities to complete halt. The revenue streamsin the sector completely dried up and the industry suffered a three-quarters economicwipeout. The travel and tourism fraternity since then have constantly looked for waysto weather this storm put up a brave front and combat the situation with perseverance.
As a major player in the travel and tourism industry COVID-19 hascaused considerable disruptions in operations of the company as well. The passenger trainservices were completed suspended in the entire country during the initial lockdown periodand event after the gradual lifting of the lockdown and resumption of trains in staggeredmanner the initial occupancy levels in the trains were not very encouraging. The adversebusiness scenario caused by the pandemic jeopardized the business operations of thecompany and wrecked havoc across all business segments. Nevertheless we were able tosustain the unpleasant impacts of the pandemic to a substantial extent owing toscalability in our operations and formulating quick mitigation response on the back of ourdynamic business model. We strongly believe that one's prowess to re-imagine thefuture and make purposeful efforts to achieve the goals counts the most during thesechallenging times.
Over the years IRCTC has developed a business model that has given thecompany a very firm footing in the travel and tourism of the country. With a diverseproduct and service portfolios we aim to provide our valued customers with integratedsolutions under one roof. In addition to services such as global reservation systemscatering and executive facilities we also provide multi-service solutions to ourdomestic and international customers with respect to tour and travel accommodation andother tourism related requirements.
Amidst the dire circumstances and the Company being severally hit bythe pandemic we present a reasonable balance sheet for fiscal 21. The revenue fromoperations for the year clocked RS. 783.05 crores as compared to RS. 2264.31 crores inprevious fiscal. Our EBITDA stood at RS. 275.93 crores and our operating margin registeredat 31.76%. Due to reasons mentioned above PAT decreased by 62.99% from RS. 513.11 croresin 2019-20 to RS. 189.90 crores in 2020-21. In terms of profitability we registered a netprofit margin of 21.86%.
We also remained robust on the liquidity front. Our operating cash ason 31st March 2021 stood at RS. 345.02 crores and we have undertaken prudent riskmanagement and capital allocation strategy to maintain healthy return ratios. Our ROCEover the past 5 years registers 12.95% as of fiscal 21. Our financial strength stems fromour ability to capitalise on high entry barriers to the industry build a strong earningsprofile and attain a debt-free status. Given the Company's strong performance in20-21 the Board of Directors has recommended a final dividend of RS. 5 per share (RS. 80Crores).
During the fiscal year under review we concentrated all of our effortson delivering customer services while adhering to stringent safety standards and healthprotocols. We have developed SOPs to control the spread of COVID-19 in our operatedtourist trains and train tour packages.
On the ticketing front IRCTC integrated its operations via virtualmode and generated necessary software licenses for the seamless functioning of operationsduring the lockdown. We also extended annual maintenance contracts for IT CentreInfrastructure and SMS service so that the continuity of Internet Ticketing services isensured. Although we faced major challenges in the initial quarters in generating revenuesand providing refunds to the customers the ticket booking picked up towards the end ofthe fiscal and we took all possible measures to ensure proper supply-chain continuitytowards timely refunds to customers.
Several passenger awareness initiatives
We are immensely excited to start our new segment of Bus-seatbooking' to facilitate seamless online bus booking services and enable last-mileconnectivity to the travellers. We envisage more such fresh business opportunities in thenear future.
were also fostered by our catering vertical including cashlesspayments for passengers the placement of QR codes on food packages for traceability andthe afixation of metallic menu plates in catering units.
The pandemic also deeply impacted our Rail Neer packaged drinking wateroperations as well. Owing to suspension of regular passenger trains and closure of a largenumber of hospitality units at railway stations the production of Rail Neer staggered andsales witnessed a drastic drop in numbers. However as operations resumed we underwentinitiatives to increase the production and sale of Rail Neer bottles. We are currentlyexploring backward integration possibilities by installing preform production units inexisting Rail Neer plants.
Digitalization plays a key part in everything we do at IRCTC. Ourindigenously developed technical solutions enable 24/7 quality services to our customers.We provide digital customer support in the form of Artificial Intelligence driven chatbots and virtual assistants that are powered by modern technologies of Machine Learningand Natural Language Processing. In line with our commitment towards Make in India andAtmanirbhar Bharat we are using the chatbot Ask Disha which has been upgraded tocommunicate with consumers in Hindi for providing ticketing related assistance to thecustomers.. The platform gained quite some traction in FY 21 with an average of 1000queries addressed in Hindi per day.
Moving forward we remain optimistic for the future despitecontemplating serious business challenges posed by the pandemic . We are well aware of thefact that COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future and hence our combinedefforts are focused on strategic collaborations extensive training and development of ourmanagement and operation team and infrastructure up-gradation to accommodate the NewNormal.
We are working to enhance the train services for tourist trains such asthe Maharajas' Express Golden Chariot and Deluxe Tourist Train by minimizingpassenger touch points installing UV lighting and offering UV sanitization in trains.With our brand-new offerings in fintech we foresee a booming traction in the paymentaggregator business. Besides this we are also striving to automate our routine processesbuild a new interface for our websites andmobile apps and strengthen customer engagementacross all our operational segments.
We are immensely excited to start our new segment of Bus-seatbooking' to facilitate seamless online bus booking services and enable last-mileconnectivity to the travelers. We envisage more such fresh business opportunities in thenear future.
I am incredibly thankful to our board members shareholders customersour devoted workforce and all stakeholders in the IRCTC ecosystem for their relentlessdedication and steadfast loyalty towards our company. I also convey my sincere gratitudeto the government institutions particularly the Ministry ofRailways Ministry of TourismDepartment of Public Enterprises and Zonal Railways Comptroller & Auditor General ofIndia and all the State Governments for their continued support and guidance. Together weshall continue on our quest to attain new heights of excellence in customer services.
|Rajni Hasija |
|Chairman & Managing Director |