ITC is one of India’s foremost private sector companies with a market capitalisation of over US $ 13 billion and a turnover of US $ 3.5 billion. Rated among the World’s Best Big Companies, Asia’s ‘Fab 50’ and the World’s Most Reputable Companies by Forbes magazine, among India’s Most Respected Companies by BusinessWorld and among India’s Most Valuable Companies by Business Today, ITC ranks third in pre-tax profit among India’s private sector corporations.
ITC has a diversified presence in Cigarettes, Hotels, Paperboards & Specialty Papers, Packaging, Agri-Business, Packaged Foods & Confectionery, Information Technology, Branded Apparel, Greeting Cards, Safety Matches and other FMCG products. While ITC is an outstanding market leader in its traditional businesses of Cigarettes, Hotels, Paperboards, Packaging and Agri-Exports, it is rapidly gaining market share even in its nascent businesses of Packaged Foods & Confectionery, Branded Apparel and Greeting Cards.
As one of India’s most valuable and respected corporations, ITC is widely perceived to be dedicate nation-oriented. Chairman Y C Deveshwar calls this source of inspiration “a commitment beyond the market”. In his own words: “ITC believes that its aspiration to create enduring value for the nation provides the motive force to sustain growing shareholder value. ITC practices this philosophy by not only driving each of its businesses towards international competitiveness but by also consciously contributing to enhancing the competitiveness of the larger value chain of which it is a part.”
ITC’s diversified status originates from its corporate strategy aimed at creating multiple drivers of growth anchored on its time-tested core competencies: unmatched distribution reach, superior brand-building capabilities, effective supply chain management and acknowledged service skills in hoteliering. Over time, the strategic forays into new businesses are expected to garner a significant share of these emerging high-growth markets in India.
ITC’s Agri-Business is one of India’s largest exporters of agricultural products. ITC is one of the country’s biggest foreign exchange earners (US $ 2.4 billion in the last decade). The Company’s ‘e-Choupal’ initiative is enabling Indian agriculture significantly enhance its competitiveness by empowering Indian farmers through the power of the Internet. This transformational strategy, which has already become the subject matter of a case study at Harvard Business School, is expected to progressively create for ITC a huge rural distribution infrastructure, significantly enhancing the Company’s marketing reach.
ITC’s wholly owned Information Technology subsidiary, ITC Infotech India Limited, is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities in providing end-to-end IT solutions, including e-enabled services and business process outsourcing.
ITC’s production facilities and hotels have won numerous national and international awards for quality, productivity, safety and environment management systems. ITC was the first company in India to voluntarily seek a corporate governance rating.
ITC employs over 20,000 people at more than 60 locations across India. The Company continuously endeavors to enhance its wealth generating capabilities in a globalising environment to consistently reward more than 4,51,000 shareholders, fulfill the aspirations of its stakeholders and meet societal expectations. This over-arching vision of the company is expressively captured in its corporate positioning statement: “Enduring Value. For the nation. For the Shareholder.”
ITC was incorporated on August 24, 1910 under the name of ‘Imperial Tobacco Company of India Limited’. Its beginnings were humble. A leased office on Radha Bazar Lane, Kolkata, was the center of the Company’s existence. The Company celebrated its 16th birthday on August 24, 1926, by purchasing the plot of land situated at 37, Chowringhee, (now renamed J.L. Nehru Road) Kolkata, for the sum of Rs 310,000. This decision of the Company was historic in more ways than one. It was to mark the beginning of a long and eventful journey into India’s future. The Company’s headquarter building, ‘Virginia House’, which came up on that plot of land two years later, would go on to become one of Kolkata’s most venerated landmarks. The Company’s ownership progressively Indianised, and the name of the Company was changed to I.T.C. Limited in 1974. In recognition of the Company’s multi-business portfolio encompassing a wide range of businesses – Cigarettes & Tobacco, Hotels, Information Technology, Packaging, Paperboards & Specialty Papers, Agri-Exports, Foods, Lifestyle Retailing and Greeting Gifting & Stationery – the full stops in the Company’s name were removed effective September 18, 2001. The Company now stands rechristened ‘ITC Limited’.
Though the first six decades of the Company’s existence were primarily devoted to the growth and consolidation of the Cigarettes and Leaf Tobacco businesses, the Seventies witnessed the beginnings of a corporate transformation that would usher in momentous changes in the life of the Company.
ITC’s Packaging & Printing Business Division, was set up in 1925 as a strategic backward integration for ITC’s Cigarettes business. It is today India’s most sophisticated packaging house.
In 1975 the Company launched its Hotels business with the acquisition of a hotel in Chennai which was rechristened ‘ITC-Welcomgroup Hotel Chola’. The objective of ITC’s entry into the hotels business was rooted in the concept of creating value for the nation. ITC chose the hotels business for its potential to earn high levels of foreign exchange, create tourism infrastructure and generate large scale direct and indirect employment. Since then ITC’s Hotels business has grown to occupy a position of leadership, with over 65 owned and managed properties spread across India.
In 1979, ITC entered the Paperboards business by promoting ITC Bhadrachalam Paperboards Limited, which today has become the market leader in India. Bhadrachalam Paperboards amalgamated with the Company effective March 13, 2002 and became a Division of the Company, Bhadrachalam Paperboards Division. In November 2002, this division merged with the Company’s Tribeni Tissues Division to form the Paperboards & Specialty Papers Division. ITC’s paperboards’ technology, productivity, quality and manufacturing processes are comparable to the best in the world. It has also made an immense contribution to the development of Sarapaka, an economically backward area in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is directly involved in education, environmental protection and community development. In 2004, ITC acquired the paperboard manufacturing facility of BILT Industrial Packaging Co. Ltd (BIPCO), near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The Kovai Unit allows ITC to improve customer service with reduced lead time and a wider product range.
In 1985, ITC set up Surya Tobacco Co. in Nepal as an Indo-Nepal and British joint venture. Since inception, its shares have been held by ITC, British American Tobacco and various independent shareholders in Nepal. In August 2002, Surya Tobacco became a subsidiary of ITC Limited and its name was changed to Surya Nepal Private Limited (Surya Nepal).
In 1990, ITC acquired Tribeni Tissues Limited, a Specialty paper manufacturing company and a major supplier of tissue paper to the cigarette industry. The merged entity was named the Tribeni Tissues Division (TTD). To harness strategic and operational synergies, TTD was merged with the Bhadrachalam Paperboards Division to form the Paperboards & Specialty Papers Division in November 2002.
Also in 1990, leveraging its agri-sourcing competency, ITC set up the International Business Division (IBD) for export of agri-commodities. The Division is today one of India’s largest exporters. ITC’s unique and now widely acknowledged e-Choupal initiative began in 2000 with soya farmers in Madhya Pradesh. Now it extends to 7 states covering over 3.5 million farmers. ITC’s first rural mall, christened ‘Choupal Saagar’ was inaugurated in August 2004 at Sehore. The year 2006 witnessed the ramping up of the Company’s rural retailing network with 10 ‘Choupal Saagars’ being operational in three states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Nine more ‘Choupal Saagars’ are in an advanced stage of construction and will be launched shortly.
In 2000, ITC’s Packaging & Printing business launched a line of high quality greeting cards under the brand name ‘Expressions’. In 2002, the product range was enlarged with the introduction of Gift wrappers, Autograph books and Slam books. In the same year, ITC also launched ‘Expressions Matrubhasha’, a vernacular range of greeting cards in eight languages and ‘Expressions Paperkraft’, a range of premium stationery products. In 2003, the company rolled out ‘Classmate’, a range of notebooks in the school stationery segment.
ITC also entered the Lifestyle Retailing business with the Wills Sport range of international quality relaxed wear for men and women in 2000. The Wills Lifestyle chain of exclusive stores later expanded its range to include Wills Classic formal wear (2002) and Wills Clublife evening wear (2003). ITC also initiated a foray into the popular segment with its men’s wear brand, John Players, in 2002. In December 2005, ITC introduced Essenza Di Wills, an exclusive line of prestige fragrance products, to select ‘Wills Lifestyle’ stores. In 2006, Wills Lifestyle became title partner of the country’s most premier fashion event – Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week – that has gained recognition from buyers and retailers as the single largest B-2-B platform for the Fashion Design industry. To mark the occasion, ITC launched a special ‘Celebration Series’, taking the event forward to consumers.
In 2000, ITC spun off its information technology business into a wholly owned subsidiary, ITC Infotech India Limited, to more aggressively pursue emerging opportunities in this area. In a short span of 5 years, ITC Infotech has already crossed over US$ 60 million in revenues. It also has a joint venture with ClientLogic, a top five global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider.
ITC’s foray into the Foods business is an outstanding example of successfully blending multiple internal competencies to create a new driver of business growth. It began in August 2001 with the introduction of ‘Kitchens of India’ ready-to-eat Indian gourmet dishes. In June 2002 ITC entered the confectionery, staples and snack foods segments. In just five years, the Foods business has grown to a significant size with 100 differentiated products, five distinctive brands, an enviable distribution reach, a rapidly growing market share and a solid market standing.
In 2002, ITC’s philosophy of contributing to enhancing the competitiveness of the entire value chain found yet another expression in the Safety Matches initiative. ITC now markets popular safety matches brands like iKno, Mangaldeep, VaxLit, Delite and Aim.
ITC’s foray into the marketing of Agarbattis (incense sticks) in 2003 marked the manifestation of its partnership with the cottage sector. ITC’s popular agarbattis brands include Spriha and Mangaldeep across a range of fragrances like Rose, Jasmine, Bouquet, Sandalwood, Madhur, Sambrani and Nagchampa.
ITC is a board-managed professional company, committed to creating enduring value for the shareholder and for the nation. It has a rich organizational culture rooted in its core values of respect for people and belief in empowerment. Its philosophy of all-round value creation is backed by strong corporate governance policies and systems.
ITC’s corporate strategies are aimed at matching its core capabilities with market opportunities to produce superior shareholder value. The key corporate strategies are:
Continue to focus on the core businesses of Cigarettes & Tobacco, Hotels, Packaging & Paperboard.
Ensure that each of its businesses meets the three criteria of sustainability, namely Market Standing, Profitability and Internal Vitality. Exit from businesses which do not meet these criteria within an agreed time frame.
Ensure that each business is internationally competitive in the Indian global market.
Create distributed leadership within the organisation by nurturing talented and focused top management teams for each of the businesses.
Institute and practice a system of corporate governance appropriate to ITC’s character and constitution. Such a system of governance must achieve a wholesome balance between the need for executive freedom for management and the requirement of a framework for effective accountability.
Secure the future growth of the Company by creating new businesses which leverage the strength of нts core competencies, residing in various businesses.