These are unprecedented times. The second wave of Covid-19 has had a tragic impact allaround us. We have lost many of our colleagues to the virus. The suffering has beenimmeasurable. On behalf of Titan we offer our deepest condolences to those who have losttheir family members.
To me the abiding memory of last year was the image of the retail sales officerworking in the stores of Titan Company. Wearing the mask and the shield for hourstogether never losing patience always showing her smile relentlessly presenting thegold standard in safety among the best in the retail industry. It is that stringentsafety protocol sitting on top of the exceptional relationships that each one of them hadbuilt with the millions of our customers that powered the recovery starting early Q2. Weowe them so much.
Amidst all the trials and tribulations of FY21 heartening stories of hope and couragecontinued to emerge: women and men demonstrating extraordinary resilience and dedicationgoing above and beyond their call of duty. The Titan family is full of such extraordinarypeople like the shop floor and retail employees proudly showcased in this year's annualreport other employees who innovated wonderfully even while navigating the challenges ofworking from home all our retail and distribution partners and their employees andvendor partners and their employees in whose hearts Titan forever continues to beat. Iwould like to thank each one of them for their amazing commitment in keeping themselvesand others safe while helping us to continue our operations serve our customers andsupport our communities. Their contribution in this unprecedented year is truly incredibleand inspiring.
It was only fair that Titan Company took care of this large family during aneconomically and emotionally challenging year. From pay protection to job protection tohospitalisation insurance and helplines for the employees from soft loans to salarysupport to transit homes and to retail distribution and vendor partners your Companyreached out and made life comfortable for the thousands of people directly and indirectlydependent on it. The multiple-stakeholder approach was even more evident in the manner inwhich we dealt with our NGO partners and our programmes. Despite the challenging timesTitan continued to honour its commitment towards the community. Upliftment of the girlchild the skilling of people and helping Indian artisans preserve and market theirheritage remained close to our heart. This year we continued to support CSR
Our profit before tax (PBT) for the year ended March 2021 was `_1233 crore (afterexceptional items) compared to `_2105 crore in the previous year. projects includingMission Gaurav where we partnered with Tata Trusts to help more than 3 lakh guest workersacross four states to ride out the COVID-19 challenge over a six-month period. Let me nowcome to the business performance during Financial Year 2020-21.
Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE) a vital indicator to gauge householdspending in the country and the largest component of GDP fell by 54% in the first quarterof FY21 compared to a 56% growth in the same period in the previous fiscal. Pay cuts andlayoffs across the country and a drop in consumer confidence with people preferring tosave money continued to erode demand. With our products being in the category ofdiscretionary spends and consumer sentiment severely affected across geographies ourbusinesses faced significant headwinds.
I am pleased to report that against this challenging economic backdrop Titan delivereda satisfactory financial performance: revenue from operations stood at `_20602 crore(including bullion sale) in FY21 compared to `_20010 crore in FY20. I would like tothank all our customers who continued to give us their patronage even in the midst of thispressure on discretionary consumption and enabled this exceptional recovery.
The war-on-waste programme begun in H2 of FY20 was a success enabling us to optimiseour costs and free precious working capital across different departments. In addition weexercised discretionary cuts on various expense heads due to the lower level of activity.The Company was also successful in negotiating fairly significant waivers and reductionsfor rentals in these disruptive times. These proactive measures enabled us to safeguardour profitability to a considerable extent despite the market contraction in the firsthalf of the year. Our profit before tax (PBT) for the year ended 31st March2021 was `_1233 crore (after exceptional items) compared to `_2105 crore in theprevious year. On account of the various measures undertaken during the year your Companyended the year with a comfortable cash position and the same should take care of anyunforeseen eventualities in the current year.
What makes last year's performance especially creditworthy is that it was achievedwith complete adherence to the highest safety and hygiene standards without compromisingin any way the well-being of our customers employees associates and all stakeholders.Despite substantial drop in profitability for the year your Board has agreed to retainthe dividend rate at the FY20 level (`_4 per share) resulting in a higher pay-out ratio.The challenge we faced at the start of the year was of generating demand and desire on onehand and ensuring prompt delivery through innovative channels on the other keeping inmind the unique requirement of the times. Rising to the task our team across divisionsrolled out several initiatives which included adopting gold-standard safety protocols andcombining our digital knowledge with our physical connect to enable customers to buyproducts of their choice through the channel of their preference. This agility enabled ourvarious divisions to bounce back faster post the unlocking of the economy. With the secondwave of the pandemic hitting India and lockdowns being repeated across states FY22 willbe another challenging year or at least till the vaccination drive reaches a fair levelof coverage in the country. In such times we will continue to exercise prudence inmanaging our expenses. Our war-on-waste programme has enabled us to identify sustainablesavings making us a leaner and fitter organisation. Moreover the management of cash andthe balance sheet have become well institutionalised processes in the Company and thisshould hold us in good stead to overcome tough periods. Finally our business segmentshave emerged stronger with the learnings and experience of the past year. Armed with thisarsenal of knowledge along with our strengths of fantastic brand portfolio dedicatedpeople and strong customer relationships we are better prepared and positioned tonavigate future challenges.
Being Good is Good for Business.
I take this opportunity to thank the Board for their continued support and stewardshipall our employees for their unwavering commitment and team spirit and all our partnersvendors suppliers and other stakeholders for reposing their faith and contributingtowards making Titan not just a world-class competitive and contemporary company but alsoa humane caring and fair family that we are proud to be part of.
C K Venkataraman