ITC Q4 net profit up 10% on year at Rs 2933 crore

Sanjiv Puri

The Kolkata-based company ITC Ltd is hopefully looking to register year-on-year (YoY) increase of 6.36 percent in its annual net profit to Rs 2,839 crore, as reported by a poll of analysts at Reuters.

"Shortage of leaf tobacco in Andhra Pradesh due to lower crop output on account of drought in 2016 and adverse crop quality, relative strength of the Rupee vis-à-vis currencies of competing origins and limited trading opportunities in other agri-commodities weighed on the performance of the Agri Business", said ITC. It was Rs 386.52 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal.

"Gross sales value excluding agri business grew by 5.7 per cent driven by FMCG others and hotels".

Analysts on average expected a net profit of Rs 2,845 crore, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The company said the punitive and discriminatory taxation and the regulatory regime continues to exert severe pressure on the domestic legal cigarette industry even as illegal cigarette trade has been growing unabated.

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Standalone revenue from operations came in at Rs 10,813.24 crore witnessing decline by 27.95% as against Rs 15,008.82 crore a year ago same period.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciationand amortisation (EBITDA) is likely to surge 9 percent YoY to Rs 4,236 crore. The profit before tax for the company's mainstay - cigarettes - stood at Rs 3,505.76 crore in Q4 FY 18 compared to Rs 3,258.76 crore in Q4 FY17, a jump of around 8 per cent.

The board of directors of the company on Wednesday recommended a dividend at 120 per cent i.e. Rs 1.20 per equity share of face value of Re 1 each for the financial year ended March 31.

On its revenue from hotels business, the company said the growth in segment revenue during the year was subdued at 5.6 per cent reflecting inter alia the overhang of excess room inventory and the impact of highway liquor ban. ITC's shares were trading firm at Rs285.75 each on BSE, up 1.4% at 2.45pm in a weak market.

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