ITC logs 10% rise in Q4 net profit

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Profit for the quarter ended March 31 came in at Rs 2,933 crore ($432.44 million) from Rs 2,669 crore reported a year ago, the company, which also makes biscuits and noodles under the Sunfeast brand, said. The board approved payment of a dividend of Rs. 5.15 per share. The total cash outflow will be Rs 7,577.15 crore, including a dividend distribution tax of Rs 1,291.94 crore. A Reuters poll of analysts estimated net profit growth of 6.36 percent to Rs 2,839 crore. ITC said the revenue figures were not comparable due to the restructuring of indirect taxes.

The board also approved the redesignation of Sanjiv Puri from Chief Executive Officer and whole-time director to Managing Director, subject to the approval of the shareholders, the company said in a separate filing. Analysts said the results were broadly in line with their estimates.

"FMCG revenue growth stood at 10% during the quarter on a relatively firm base driven by Bingo! snacks, Sunfeast biscuits, B Natural juices, Engage deos, Fiama and Vivel personal wash, Savlon handwash and Classmate notebooks", ITC said in a statement. For the 12 months ended March 31, the profit increased to Rs. 164.1 crore, from Rs. 28.1 crore in 2016-17. He, however, commended the margins.

Revenue from hotels was up 5.6 per cent on account of an improvement in the average room rent and growth in food and beverage sales. Revenue was driven mainly by improved average room revenues and "robust" F&B sales.

The company on Wednesday said the agri business was affected by factors such as adverse quality of Andhra Pradesh leaf tobacco crop, limited trading in commodities such as wheat, soya and coffee and high base effect of imported wheat trading.

"The legal cigarette industry, already reeling under the cumulative impact of a steep increase in taxation over the last five years and intense regulatory pressures, was further impacted by the sharp upward revision in GST Compensation Cess announced in July 2017", the company said.

Paper business did marginally better with profits going up from Rs 240.17 crore to Rs 242.42 crore as input costs remain benign, higher substitution of imported pulp with in-house production and continued focus on product mix.