Global economy is on a rebound growing at 3.8% in 2017 the fastest and the mostbroad-based growth since 2011. At the same time it is getting riskier not only due to thefallout from recent trade stando3 between the US and China but also rising global debt(at a record high of $164 trillion) which threatens financial stability. Central Banksacross the world so long pursuing accommodative monetary policies have turned hawkishand higher interest rates would test the ability of borrowers to refinance that sizeabledebt. This may have an adverse impact on growth in the medium term. Moreover the surge inoil prices and capital flight induced by rising interest rates in the US could makeemerging economies more vulnerable leading to macro-imbalances. India still providescomfort with expected growth close to 8% across the next two years as private consumptionand services are expected to continue to support economic activity. The robust growth iscatalyzed by a continued thrust on infrastructure spending and on Ease of DoingBusiness'. The Indian economy has also recovered from the twin impacts of demonetisationand initial adjustments to the GST regime to regain the status of the fastest growinglarge economy. The recapitalisation package for public sector banks announced by theGovernment of India coupled with the ongoing process of stressed assets resolution underIBC albeit slowly is expected to revive the banking sector enhance credit availabilityand spur investment.
This could be further boosted by the government's focus on financial inclusion ruraleconomy and agriculture. This is evident in the latest corporate results showing an uptickin good volume growth and profits. The surge was led by higher automobile sales sale offarm equipment as well as buoyancy in the FMCG and durables goods sectors.
The robust demand outlook and rising consumerism bodes well for the Indian paperindustry which is expected to maintain its growth momentum in the near future. Whetherthe sector manages to grow above that would depend on how things pan out on the externalfront as well as the reform focus considering that general elections are due in less than12 months.
Amidst such uncertainty your company has managed to scale further heights achievinggross sales of over Rs 3000 during the year for the first time with 60% increase in PAT.The record performance of the Company during the last financial year came despite a surgein imports GST-induced consumer slowdown and other uncertainties outlined earlier. Wewere able to maintain a leadership in the copier segment and amongst the top two in coatedpaper space and a leading player in the packaging board area. We were also activelyinvolved in market expansion outside India exporting our products to over 50 countries.Our group right from the beginning had assigned the highest priority to the welfare ofits workers their families and the surrounding communities. Our efforts encompass apopulation of almost a lac in about 146 villages with almost half being as directbeneficiaries mainly women. Through our intervention we managed to increase theirincomes by at least 50% vis--vis others in the same catchment area. We are furtherexpanding our CSR footprint in more districts and gram panchayats in Gujarat UttarPradesh and Odisha matched by an increased annual CSR budget. The strengthening macrofundamentals coupled with enhanced digitisation and upbeat consumer sentiments areperfectly aligned with your Company's thrust on high quality and valued-added products.Your Company is well poised to take the front-seat' of that growth drive. Yourcontinued support over the years has given us strength and I look forward to the same aswe endeavour to make the most of the opportunities on offer.
Bharat Hari Singhania