Ladies & Gentlemen,
I Welcome you all to this XVIth Annual General Meting of the Company.
The Directors Report and Audited Accounts for the year ended 31st March, 1997 have already been with you for some time and therefore with your permission I take these as read.
REVIEW OF OPERATIONS
I am happy to inform you that, despite adverse market conditions, the year under review has witnessed your Company's best every performance in all areas. This is a positive reflection of the focussed and innovative marketing strategies, constant seeking of ways to stay ahead of
competitors and last, but not the least, consistent efforts to trim costs. The following data bears out this statement. The Company's Sales Turnover increased from Rs 135.01 crores to Rs 166.41 crores showing a spectacular increase of 49.03%. Profit Before Tax improved by as much as 43% from Rs 65.24 crores to Rs 93.27 crores. Profit after Taxation at Rs
79.44 crores is an all time record for the Company registering an increase of 56.7% over the previous year.
Consistent with the Company's philosophy of sharing the benefits of its growth with shareholders, your Directors have proposed the highest ever dividend of 90% for the financial year 1996-97 (including interim dividend of 45% already paid during the year) on the higher paid-up equity capital base (due to issue of Bonus Shares) involving a higher pay out of Rs 15.83 crores as against Rs 13.85 crores in the previous year. The Board has also declared an interim dividend of 60% for the current financial year viz.1997-98. This will be paid along with the final dividend for the year 1996-97, if approved by shareholders.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNINGS
Foreign exchange earnings continue to be a thrust area for your Company. The results are amply borne out by the fact that at Rs 141.83 crores in 1996-97 these earnings are Rs 38.32 crores more than that in 1995-96 (amounting to 85.23% of the total revenue of the hotel).
The main focus of your Company's management is now on setting up deluxe five star hotels in Mumbai and Calcutta.
The recession in the Indian economy and the delicate sociopolitical environment has to certain extent affected the fortunes of the tourism an hotel industry. There has been some decline in the inflow of international business travellers. However your Directors strongly feel that this phenomena is essentially sort term in nature. The long term
prospects for the hotel industry in India continue to remain very encouraging keeping in view the size of the Indian market, the resilient and buoyant nature of the economy and the continuing liberalisation measures being introduced by the Government. For your Company in particular, the long term prospects are even more significant as investments in new properties are being made in the fast growing markets, i.e. the metropolitan cities of Mumbai and Calcutta.
I would like to thank all our employees for their continued support, dedication to duty and loyalty.
I also thank our shareholders for their invaluable support and confidence reposed in the Company. Finally, I thank my colleagues on the Board of Directors, our collaborators Hyatt International Asia pacific Limited and Bankers to the Company for their unflinching support, valuable guidance and advice which has enabled successful management of your Company.