Strong operational achievements were complemented by a robust financialperformance that returned significant cash to shareholders. This was made possible by theskill and commitment of our management and employees who delivered the planned ramp-upsacross our portfolio of well-invested Tier-I assets.
A disciplined capital allocation approach underpinned by strongcommodity prices provided further strength to our performance.
But we are equally proud of the increasingly significant role we areplaying in Indian society. As one of the country's largest corporates we continuedto create jobs support our host communities generate value along our entire supply chainand contribute to the national exchequer.
As you will see this is our first Integrated Report another step thatunderlines our commitment to providing transparent and meaningful disclosures to all ourstakeholders. Vedanta aspires to work to the highest standards of governance andtransparency and this report based on the 'six capitals' approach reflects thatcommitment.
A strong performance
The improving commodity market we saw in the previous year gatheredfurther momentum in FY2018 and we rapidly boosted productivity across our various segmentsto maximise the favourable conditions. This blend of positive market sentiment andproduction ramp-up led to a remarkable and indeed record-breaking performance. Wedelivered unprecedented annual production of refined zinc-lead and silver at Zinc India aswe made the successful transition to underground mining. Our aluminium business also sawan all-time-high exit rate at c. 2.0 mt.
These record volumes translated into robust financials. We registered22% revenue growth at Rs 92923 crore. Our strong cash flow and productivity focus helpedto drive 19% y-o-y growth in EBITDA at Rs 25470 crore and sustained our EBITDA margin ata healthy 36%. In keeping with our philosophy of continually rewarding our shareholderswe paid our highest-ever interim dividend of Rs 21.2 per share aggregating to a totalpayout of Rs 7881 crore during the year.
Committed to sustainability
We continued to make significant efforts to strengthen our HealthSafety and Environmental (HSE) practices leading to the lowest Lost-time Injury FrequencyRate (LTIFR) since 2012. However with deep regret we reported seven fatalities duringthe year in our operations. We are determined to create an environment where everyone goeshome safe every day and to this end we have bolstered our HSE organisation by recruitingten experts with global experience and methods. The safety of our colleagues is a toppriority for me personally as well as for the Board and our CEO Kuldip Kaura addressesthis further in his statement.
In the wider community we have always believed that a company'sperformance should be measured not just by what it creates but also by what it gives back.
Over the course of FY2018 Vedanta invested over Rs 244 crore in socialprogrammes directly touching the lives of 3.36 million people across 1400+ villages.This includes our participation in the Nand Ghar' programme in rural Indiawhich involves setting up and transforming 4000 state-of-the-art child welfare centresacross the country.
Our social initiatives straddle important intervention areas such asskill-building; education for girls; providing safe clean drinking water; nutrition andhealthcare and encouraging the health and social benefits that come through sport.Vedanta through the Vedanta Medical Research Foundation also inaugurated centralIndia's first world- class cancer facility in Raipur Chhattisgarh in the past year.This initiative aligns with the larger vision of Vedanta Group's commitment to giveback to society and I look forward to many more R&D initiatives from the foundationgoing forward.
During the year our continuing investments also helped us to makemeasurable progress in reducing our environmental energy and carbon footprint. Indeed
we delivered significantly higher levels of water and energy savingsthan our original targets. Similarly the decrease we've achieved in our GreenhouseGas (GHG) emission intensity is right on track to achieve our stated goal of a 16%reduction against the 2012 baseline.
These initiatives have been recognised with a commendable 15thplace ranking on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (metal and mining sector).
Last summer we bade farewell to our CEO Tom Albanese who made animportant contribution to the business during his tenure of over three years.
In September 2017 we appointed Kuldip Kaura as the Interim CEO ofVedanta; he had previously held the role and has over 15 years of experience with theGroup.
In 2017 we welcomed Aman Mehta
UK Sinha and Priya Agarwal to the Board. You will read more about theirexpertise and experience in this Report and I am looking forward to the Board and ourCompany benefiting from the enhanced strategic focus governance and leadership they willbring.
Lastly I cannot close FY2018 without expressing my sincereappreciation to each of the 65000+ employees who make Vedanta what it is. It was theirenergy talent and commitment that ensured that the plans laid out by our senior leaderscame to such fine fruition this year and I thank them all.
The Indian opportunity
As India's only diversified natural resources group we areuniquely placed to make a home-grown' contribution to the nation's growthand to assist in its process of modernisation.
In a little over a decade India is expected to be home to 1.5 billionpeople and boast an economy worth US$6 trillion. This presents an exceptional opportunityfor the core sector players whose products will be essential to meet the country'sgrowing requirements for development infrastructure development asset- creationmobility housing consumer goods and general consumption.
The country currently relies on imports to meet around 80% of its oiland mineral needs and the consumption per capita of metals remains around 70% below theglobal average. This backdrop provides immense demand potential for metals such asaluminium zinc and steel. The focus on renewable electric and non-fossil fuel energynotwithstanding the oil and gas sector is also expected to witness robust growth.
I am therefore encouraged to see the Indian government take theinitiative with business-friendly reforms to catalyse global investment and spur growth.
Indeed we see many steps in the right direction with the impetusbehind domestic manufacturing long-overdue tax reforms such as the Goods and Services Tax(GST) a transparent mine-auctioning process privatisation of commercial coal miningOpen Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) for oil and gas blocks and the new insolvency codefor the efficient resolution of distressed companies. We have experienced the latter inour recent bid for Electrosteel; we see favourable market dynamics for steel in India andtogether with integration efficiencies with our iron ore business in Jharkhand thisacquisition is value-accretive for Vedanta.
Looking ahead with confidence
We enter FY2019 with a confident spring in our step.
From the firm base of owning a resilient portfolio of commodities thatperforms throughout the cycle our near-to-mid-term view of the market is one ofcontinuing strong demand and firm prices.
Therefore our immediate focus is to continue to increase our outputand leverage the favourable market conditions while continuing with expansions andputting our strong pipeline of growth projects into action.
After several years of considered and strategic efforts Vedanta is nowa stronger simpler and more productive organisation.
I look forward to working with our world- class management team andsupporting them as we pursue continued growth the highest standards of corporategovernance and creating meaningful long-term value for our shareholders and society as awhole.
In this endeavour we will strive to earn your continued support.
With my best regards
May 3 2018