The global automotive industry landscape continues to transform and along with it theauto components industry. With India already cementing its place as a global componentsourcing hub we are well positioned to navigate through the emerging challenges andcapitalise on the upcoming opportunities. Our tradition of pursuing excellence and keepingcustomer at the core' remained intact this year as well backed by determinationprudent foresight and strong business fundamentals.
The synchronised upswing in the global economy that began around mid-2016 suddenlychanged course in the second half of 2018 as the continued momentum in manufacturing andtrade dissipated. Sentiments were further dampened by the hardening of US interest ratesvolatile crude prices along with uncertainty over Brexit and heightened rhetoric aroundprotectionism.
The Indian GDP growth dipped below 7% for full-year 2018-19 after growing at 7.5% inthe first half due to weak industrial output and overall subdued demand. However withthe election overhang now behind us the economy should grow at over 7% going forwarddriven by the government's resolve towards achieving fiscal consolidation and continuedpush for structural reforms.
The Indian automobile industry too had started FY 2018-19 on a positive note supportedby normal monsoon rising rural demand the government's infrastructure push and rise inindustrial activity. However most vehicle segments witnessed a considerable slowdown inthe second half due to higher fuel prices lower financing availability steep priceincrease on account of insurance regulation changes in September 2018.
Driven by determination
We registered 7% growth in net sales with moderate demand from Indian OE customers. InIndian Aftermarket we expanded reach and introduced new products. Despite increasingcompetitive intensity our customer-centric approach and superior formulation libraryhelped us to maintain market leadership position.
We continued to invest in validation and testing capabilities and energy conservationinitiatives. We continued to place significant emphasis on people development and employeeengagement initiatives which has resulted in getting certified as a Great Place to Workfor the third time in a row.
We are driven by determination to maintain the steady growth momentum focussing onunder penetrated segments and strengthening our aftermarket business.
Progressing with optimism
The first half of FY 20 appears challenging with slowing demand in most of the vehiclesegments. The anticipated pre-buy on account of transition to BS VI normal monsoon thegovernment's continued reforms and infrastructure push are likely to propel growth. Weremain optimistic about the evolving opportunities in the auto component industry and thestructural trends remain positive in the long term.
We will continue to invest in R&D and drive innovations to build value-addproducts. We will leverage on the expertise of our technical collaborator to introduce newproducts in India and tap into opportunities to supply in export markets.
Considering the potential demand for the Two-wheeler segment our Company has beenproactively creating capacities with special focus on quality enhancement through latesttechnologies at its Puducherry Plant.
We are progressing with optimism on long term market opportunities and are determinedto drive efficiencies to create value for all our stakeholders.
On behalf of the Board of Rane Brake Lining Limited I would like to thank all ourstakeholders Customers Employees Partners Vendors Bankers GovernmentCommunities and most importantly you our shareholders who have been part of thisexciting journey.