ITC announces resumption of activities despite “short-term risks” due to Covid

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Despite the “short-term uncertainties” of the pandemic, the resumption of business in the past two months after the lockdowns caused by the second wave was lifted has been encouraging, said Sanjiv Puri, president of ITC Ltd.

The company will approach change with agility, he said, and as part of its “ITC Next” strategy, the FMCG mega-brands will be developed and strengthened. New platforms, whether developed or acquired, will be developed. Vertical markets incompatible with the growth path, such as lifestyle retailing, have been slashed, he said, adding that the company’s “high-quality brands” have generated spending of. consumption of over 22,000 crore.

“The FMCG portfolio has been revitalized to prepare it for the future, respond to emerging trends and develop the categories of the future. Determined brands anchor large categories and have immense leeway to develop, ”he told shareholders at the 110th annual general meeting of the company.

There was special mention of Savlon and Nimyle, who grew 13x and 4x, respectively, after their acquisition by ITC. Other “designed” brands like Aashirvaad and Sunfeast, as well as “ITC Master Chef” (frozen snacks) were mentioned.

“During the second wave, localized blockages and restrictions again posed challenges. The recovery over the past two months is encouraging, although the possibility of subsequent waves creates short-term uncertainties, ”Puri said.

As various business sectors like cigarettes, hotels and stationery products have been affected by the pandemic, e-commerce sales have doubled. Encouraged by the positive response from consumers to the repositioning of high-end brands like Dermafique and Fiama as “digital firsts,” the company is gradually introducing more digital-focused brands.

ITC to expand its online store offerings

It is also exploring inorganic growth and the acquisition of Sunrise Foods will help it expand into the branded spices segment in under-penetrated markets.

The cigarette industry, Puri said, has seen an intelligent recovery after being hit by the second wave and the lockdowns. Revenue was almost back to pre-Covid levels by the end of FY21 (until the second wave hit). “The week-over-week improvement in market conditions following the easing of restrictions bodes well for a resumption of recovery momentum,” he said.

Hotels will continue to explore a “right to asset” strategy.

Agribusiness

According to Puri, ITC will launch a super-app later this year called “ITC-MAARS” (Metmarket for Agriculture and Advanced Rural Services). This will increase e-choupal initiatives and create a robust “phygital” ecosystem for personalized farming solutions.

ITC Strengthens Partnerships to Expand Community Development Programs

“This suite includes hyperlocal services, personalized AI-based advice and online marketplaces. Some large-scale pilots on an integrated chili value chain initiated in Andhra Pradesh have validated the concept and benefited farmers with an additional 26% income during the current season, ”Puri said.

Agricultural exports account for 56 percent of ITC’s total foreign exchange earnings, which amount to $ 7.3 billion over the past 10 years.


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