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ITC profit rises 12% to Rs 428 cr

Calcutta, Oct. 29: ITC beat street expectations with a second quarter net profit of Rs 427.87 crore — 12.45 per cent higher than the corresponding period of last year — though income from sales grew by a paltry 4.5 per cent.

The company’s net profit during the first half at Rs 825.09 crore was 13.9 per cent higher than last year, while income from operations increased a little over 3 per cent. It’s earning per share for the second quarter was Rs 17.29, and for the first six months, Rs 33.33.

ITC earned Rs 1,536.25 crore in net sales during the quarter as against Rs 1,470.30 last year.

Cigarettes continue to be the mainstay of ITC’s business, contributing 73 per cent of its second quarter revenues. Gross income from sale of cigarettes during the quarter at Rs 2,284.28 crore was 3.5 per cent higher than 2002-03. Gross income from cigarettes grew 3.7 per cent during the first six months to Rs 4,575.33 crore.

Income from its other consumer goods businesses increased substantially, thanks to a small base. ITC earned Rs 74.89 crore from its biscuits, confectioneries and garments businesses in the second quarter — 360.50 per cent higher than 2002-03. Income from these businesses during the first half was Rs 126.55 crore compared with Rs 26.72 crore last year.

ITC has reported a sharp decline in its income from agri-business. Income during the second quarter at Rs 402.88 crore from agri-business was 13 per cent lower than last year, while income during the first six months at Rs 734.20 crore represented an 18 per cent decline.

The company said the figures were not strictly comparable. Income from agri-business had shot up in 2002-03 on the back of an extra-ordinary earning of Rs 192 crore from export of basmati rice. If this extra-ordinary income is excluded, revenues from agri-business increased 33 per cent.

There are signs of recovery in the hotel business. Income from hotels during the second quarter grew 40 per cent to Rs 56.62 crore. ITC’s first-half earnings from the business at Rs 106.69 crore was 31 per cent higher.

Second quarter income from the paper and paperboards business grew 4.15 per cent to Rs 308.22 crore. Income from the segment during the first half grew 6 per cent to Rs 603.86 crore.

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