In the first half of 2018 India's economy surged ahead after spending much of theprevious year recovering from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) overhaul and thedemonetization decision by the Government. While growth pulled back sharply in the secondhalf of the financial year 2018-2019 India still registered the fastest growth ratecompared to any other major economies in the world as per International Monetary Fund(IMF).
Trade Analysts believe that India will continue to hold this distinction in the yearsto come and many Indian economists expect the continuity of a second Modi term to providespace to re-energize his reform agenda after the lackluster 2018. Modi 2.0 also indicatescontinuity in economic policy going forward notably a focus on infrastructure likely tosupport growth in steeldemandabove7% inboth2019 and 2020.
As such the Indian economy should maintain momentum on 2019 supported by robustgovernment spending relaxed monetary policy and greater political certainty following theelections. But we all know that the business environment in India as in the rest of theworld remains challenging and uncertain.
On the back of this complex and ever changing general economic context our Group hasdecided to adapt itself in order to be best positioned for the next decades. As such Mr.Jean-Luc Maurange has been named the new CEO of the Group and its worldwide entitieslocated in23countries spread across 5 continents. Going back to its roots
CMI becomes John Cockerill...again...to take on a fresh perspective inspired by thevisionary spirit of its founder. Announced inJanuary2019 to the Group's worldwide staffthe official announcement of the Group's new identity and name took place on May162019.
"Back to the roots" stands for continuity are current theme for the Group'sdevelopment including our company - CMI FPE. In June2018our Company has celebratedits 10thanniversary as a member of the Group which is now called 'John Cockerill'. Over thecourse of the ten years that have passed since the group's envisaged strategy becamereality. Since 2008 the Indian steel market has been growing fast and I can say todaythat the confidence that our Group's Chairman Mr. Bernard Serin put in the success of thecooperation between our Group and its Indian entities has proven right. It remains tobesaid that we are confident that after our current Managing Director Mr. Raman Madhokwill have left us in October this year his worthy successor will help us continue on thesame path.
I am delighted to see that over the past decade our Company along with its workshopshave been fully integrated into the Group's Industry Sector. The most recent visible signsof the in successful integration process is the exchange of personnel between India andthe rest of the Sector Industry. On the one hand I would like to mention the arrival ofour company's new Chief Operating Officer Mr. Frederic Midy. Coming from our Sector'sEuropean headquarter in Belgium Frederic joined CMIFPE in December 2018. He is sinceheading our Indian entity's engineering and project management departments as well asitsworkshops. On the other hand we have been welcoming Mr. Akash Ohri in Belgium in his newfunction as the Sector's new Financial Controller.
Our firm belief is that our men and women are our biggest asset and that our growth isattributed to our employees who have grown and developed with the Company. Theintegration efforts have paid off to the entire satisfaction of the management bothlocally and on corporate level. Today our Company is an integral part of our Sector's"One Team'' philosophy and I thank every single one of them not only for havingaccepted the journey with us but for having actively taken part in it.
Additionally to its growth in China and India our Sector is further tapping into othergrowth markets like Vietnam and South East Asia. A growth that is supported by theengineering and production provided by our Company.
Markets which are increasingly emerging and prove that our company's products have goodacceptability recognition and value for money approach that is directly linked to valueadded innovation.
d Our Sector's method of staying ahead of competitors is to dideploy new production andprocessing technology used to differentiate our products. The Industry Sector which includes our Company - CMI FPE have developed high performance products and found ways tointroduce more operation flexibility to manage the increasingly extended product mix ofour clients.
Building upon our experience we are constantly improving our technologies amongstothers by developing equipment dedicated to continuously improve quality and also reduceenergy losses in steel processes for several years now. The purpose of these solutions isto help industries reduce their environmental footprint; improve costs by reducing energyoutlays and improving their processes.
One of the most visible signs of our focus on value added innovation are the recentlyregistered orders amongst which are three processing lines for one of India's largeststeel producer and global steel giant Tata Steel. All three high-end lines are to providethe client with the very latest technology and will allow the client to produce skinpanels for car outer bodies helping it retain leadership among domestic suppliers tohigh-quality segments like the auto and white goods sectors.
Additionally to serve our clients best we have been stepping up our manufacturingexpansion in both of our workshops in Taloja and Hedavali over the past 10 years. Anexpansion which was necessary in order to most adequately address the strong long-termeconomic development and purchasing power that is expected to translate into new andexpansion of existing installed production and assembly facilities.
We trust that with all of our latest investments and innovations in terms of servicesand products the Group is most adequately equipped to assist our company on its waytowards sustainability in the years to come.
When talking about sustainability I would also like to mention with pride that CMIFPE has won the Group's Public Prize at the 2018 Awards for its health nutrition andeducation program. It was a real pet project shared by the Group's staff the world over.An award vividly illustrating the adherence of our worldwide staff to the idea that ahealthy community is the best way to achieve sustainable development.
Let me conclude by thanking our employees as well as other stakeholders for theircontinued commitment to CMI FPE.
Finally many thanks to you valued shareholders for your support and for placing you rconfidence in us to lead your company successfully in the future.
Joao Felix Da Silva