Most of the others in the developed world remain marred in a low-growth phase and soprovide little assistance to growth. Meanwhile growth in the emerging world is stillhovering around sub-5% and from the pre-2010 levels of 7-8%. The picture is starker if welook at only developing Asia where growth has slumped to around 6% from pre-crisis levelsof over 11%. This is mainly due to a pull-back by China where growth is perched at 6.5%and ASEAN the other high growth area now growing at below 5%. The other major economiesof the emerging world yet to fully recover from the recent downturns namely Brazil andRussia reported growth of only 1-2% with some pullback also expected in the Middle Eastmainly the oil producing majors (Saudi Arabia Iran UAE) and Turkey (political upheaval).
Amongst such disarray only India provides some comfort as it has overcome thetemporary disruption caused by the demonetization (when growth slipped back to 7.1%) andset to grow by 7.2% this year and 7.7% next year. This will be primarily driven by thegovernment's infrastructure spending and a concerted effort to improve the ease of doingbusiness in the country mainly through GST and an early resolution to the NPA problem.The economic stability is further reinforced by the government's commitment to stick tofiscal consolidation and keeping inflation within acceptable levels. Also the 'reform'focus of the government led to record annual FDI inflows ($43 billion in 2016-17) inaddition to FPI inflows of over Rs 1 lakh crore ($6.8 billion) so far in 2017.
But India's growth potential is yet to be unleashed as most manufacturing capacitiesremain underutilized by about 25-30%. This is also reflected within our own industrywhich makes our performance even more commendable. JK Paper not only managed to achieve aturnover of around Rs 3000 crore but achieved better profitability with an EBIDTA ofover Rs 539 crore. Our strong distribution reach made a big difference in this regard.With a team of 191 distributors operating out of 14 depots we were able to maintain aleadership in the copier segment with a 24% market share and amongst the top two positionsin the coated paper and packaging board segments. We are also actively involved in marketexpansion outside India exporting our products to more than 40 countries.
JK Paper has been a pioneer in adopting the latest environment friendly process andtechnologies from time to time. This has enabled us to undertake sustainable developmentby bringing about a perceptible change in efficiency parameters in energy and waterusage which in turn helped us improve our operating margins.
Our CSR activities are well-focused and done in an organized manner and are all gearedto be position us as an assiduous corporate citizen. The efforts encompass areas likeSwacch Bharat adult literacy healthcare camps and skill development initiatives throughself-help groups and adopting ITIs to usher in positive change.
India's unique position as a growing economy coupled with enablers like organizedretail quality packaging and rising preference for ready-to-eat foods and host of otherpreferences that come with rapidly changing lifestyles bode well for the Indian paperindustry in the medium-to-long-term. The macro fundamentals set to emerge strongerfollowing the implementation of GST enhanced digitization and an upbeat consumersentiment are perfectly aligned with your Company's thrust on quality and valued-addedproducts and empowering us to take the 'front-seat' of that growth drive. Your continuedsupport over the years has given us the strength and I look forward to the same as we makethe most of the opportunities on offer.
Bharat Hari Singhania