It is a pleasure to present before you the 24th Annual Report of yourCompany. FY 2017-18 has been a landmark year. It marks a new beginning in our six decadesrich legacy as we undertook several transformational decisions backed by relentlessefforts of our team to rejuvenate growth and strengthen fundamentals.
While your Company had always been strong on operational front it was a sudden globalmeltdown in the year 2008 and the resultant events in 2009 which set in motion anunfortunate chain of setbacks resulting in substantial losses to the Company as well asits 100% subsidiary in the UK. This led to multiple years of losses net worth erosionswelling outstanding debt and liquidity crisis. I am glad to state that this phase ofchallenges is now behind us. This has been possible because of our single-mindedcommitment to reduce debt and interest cost. We undertook a corporate debt restructuringexercise through which total debts worth Rs. 5799 Million were settled down tosustainable levels of Rs. 2035 Million. We converted matured FCCBs worth Rs. 737 Millioninto 18.1 Million Equity Shares accounting for 8% of the diluted equity. As a result ofthis exercise our debt declined by 65% which will enable us to improve margins. Our networth turning positive has been an important development during the year. This enhancesour pre-qualification to participate in a wider range of customer enquiries. It willenable us to explore more opportunities and boost business growth.
Performance review of FY 2017-18
The impact of these initiatives is refiected in our strong performance. Our revenuesincreased 34% from Rs. 3199 Million in FY 2016-17 to Rs. 4300 Million in FY 2017-18. Netprofit for the year stood at Rs. 146 Million as against a net profit of Rs. 144 Million inFY 2016-17. Our order book as on 31st March 2018 stood at Rs. 1788 Million.
The domestic markets are witnessing strong traction led by positive industry scenario.Telecom Power and Railway cables continue to be the key business drivers. We are alsoseeing strong momentum in our housing wire business. This is an important business area asit marks our extension to the retail segment which insulates us from businesscyclicality with diversification. Having initially introduced in the markets of Delhi andNCR where we received good response these products are now sold across north India and afew other select markets through a large dealer and distributor network. The revenues fromthis segment has increased by 36% to Rs. 300 Million.
Our USP lies in our technical capabilities R&D and the quality of the productsthat we make. We have always chosen to develop new products with better quality atconsiderably lower costs. This focus has ensured that we enjoy the advantage of a robustproduct basket and niche offerings. These niche offerings include India's firstlead-free building wires zero-halogen and low-smoke wires which provide a significantcompetitive edge to our business. Our 100% lead-free distinction makes our wiresnon-toxic and completely safe. The 99.97% pure Copper wires are high on qualityand energy saving. Our range of highest performing Fire Survival Cables are among the veryfew brands globally and the only Indian brand to hold both BASEC and LPCBcertifications.
We continue to perform steadily in the overseas market as well. Our exports for theyear increased 20% to Rs. 180 Million. We are focused on further building overseasbusiness by consolidating our presence in the existing regions and spreading to newerones especially in the US and Africa.
The favorable macro-economic outlook and the Government's strong focus on enhancing thecountry's infrastructure unleashes significant opportunities. I see tremendous opportunityin the telecom and railway segments. An unprecedented growth traction is visible in thetelecom sector as the country progresses on the world's largest rural broadbandconnectivity program to connect 600000 villages. The phase one of the program to connect100000 Gram Panchayats has been completed and the second phase of connecting 150000 GramPanchayats is ongoing and likely to complete by March 2019. Besides the Department ofTelecommunications has come up with another ambitious plan of providing wireline broadbandaccess to 50% of Indian households by 2022 with an estimated investment of US$ 100Billion. Looking at the opportunity landscape the sector continues to attract large-caseinvestments. Through our diverse range of Optic Fiber and Fiber to the Home (FTTH) rangeof cables we are well poised to explore the upcoming opportunities. In the railwayssector too there is a strong drive towards modernization with the ministry targeting 100%signalling upgradation electrification Wi-Fi expansion and installation of escalators.The segment will attract strong investments over the next decade. As shareholders will beaware we have enjoyed the unique distinction of being the largest supplier of specializedcables to the Indian Railways. Moving ahead too with our wide product offering for thesector which includes Underground Railway Signalling Cables Underground Railway Quad AxleCounter Cables and Specialized Instrumentation Cables for underground and elevated metroprojects we are confident of making the most of the opportunities. Similarly our firesurvival cables are used in fixed installations in high occupancy buildings like airportrailways etc. and we see demand traction in these categories.
Message to the stakeholders
We are confident that as the industry scenario turns positive our wide range of uniqueand high-quality products along with the ability to customize cables will provide us acompetitive edge. We aspire leveraging our strong market reputation and establishedrelationships with reputed companies to grow business and market share.
Your Company's promoters are confident of its bright future which is evident in theminfusing a sum of Rs. 260 Million in Q1FY2018-19 to help the Company capitalize on themarket opportunities. This fund will be utilized for meeting working capital expensesthereby reducing the stress on our working capital and towards plant and equipmentupgrade which will facilitate in enhancing our operational efficiency and hence boostproduction.
In the coming years we shall focus on moving up the value chain by targeting EPCopportunities in the telecom and power segments. We will also focus on growing our solarand domestic building wires business.
I thank all our stakeholders for their continued support during the tough times. Withthe recent developments we are confident of regaining our position in the presentindustry scenario and maximizing value for each of them. I also thank all our employeeswho have been with us through thick and thin. Their efforts have been instrumental inenabling us overcome challenges and remain strong on every front.
Chairman & CEO