During the Fiscal 2018, which was a defining year for businesses in India and across the World economies, India''s GDP is estimated to have increased 6.6 per cent in 2017-18 and Is expected to grow 7.3 per cent in 2018-19. The after effects of demonetisation and GST are now beginning to fade away and the heartening fact is that India''s foreign exchange reserves have grown up to US$ 422.53 billion in March 2018.
At GHCL, we continued to remain firmly focused on maintaining our growth momentum based on capacity expansion, launch of new product range and enhancing the capabilities of our people to add to the value we create for our stakeholders. Our revenue for the last financial year was Rs.2942 Crore and the company recommended a dividend of 50% of the face value for the financial year ended March 31, 2018 as a token of gratitude towards its shareholders, who continue to hold faith in GHCL’s management and its vision for the company.
Despite significant headwinds in textile industry we achieved a PAT of Rs. 367 crore. This has been due to our stellar performance in the Inorganic Segment with highest EBITDA achieving an overall revenue growth of 21% forthe year. Ourteam''s operational excellence has resulted in a benchmark capacity utilisation of 97% yielding extra volumes contributing to bottom-line. Our focus is to be the single largest producer of Soda Ash in the country within the next 5 years. On the anvil is a brown- field capacity expansion of 1.25 lakh tonnes by March 2019and another one in FY2019-20andthereafter Greenfield project of 5 lakh tonnes.
The Home Textile industry has been facing headwind and the market sentiment continues to remain challenging due to overcapacity, shift from brick & mortar to e-commerce platforms and rupee- dollar scenario. In the given scheme of things, our focus is to achieve product innovation and operational excellence because of which we launched Rekoop- the first fully source-verified recycled PET bedding product line. Other similar product innovations are in the pipeline to overcome the challenges. Our spinning division continues to do well and we have completed the installation of'' Airjet'' Spinning project at Madurai as per schedule. We continue to be positive on the sector and look forward to leveraging the opportunities for growth.
Our Consumer products division has been expanding the product portfolio of its brand l-FLO. Apart from Salt, Honey, Spices and Powder Spices we have now ventured into the Premium Honey Category by pioneering the entry of Jujube Honey into the Indian market. The CPD division has been working on rolling out various marketing campaigns to reach out to their prospective buyers and we are significantly increasing our reach by expanding in to newer geographies within India.
Amidst all this, we have single-mindedly focused on being a responsible corporate citizen. We seek to make a tangible positive difference to the communities we live and work in. Through our GHCL Foundation Trust we have implemented projects worth Rs. 22 crore along with our partners on various CSR Initiatives, with GHCL contributing almost Rs. 9 crore. The Foundation works across areas of education 8t skill development, HealthCare, agro & animal husbandry, women empowerment and water and sanitation. In the year under review, the GHCL foundation has influenced the lives of over 40000 households in 99 villages. As a recognition for our efforts, the GHCL Foundation Trust was awarded the prestigious Golden Peacock award for Corporate Social Responsibility.
Golden Peacock for Corporate Governance and for Quality are the other accolades which we received. GHCL was also certified as a ''Great Place to Work'' in the manufacturing sector in India in 2018 which has been a great motivator.
Our aim is to nurture an efficient organization with improved risk management mechanisms, governance capability and capacity and to translate it into organic growth and sustained profitability. We aim to build a culture of respect, trust, ownership and team work. I am pleased to say that we are witnessing the specific outcomes of our efforts.
I conclude by thanking all our stakeholders - our employees, our investors, various state governments where we have operations, central government and last but not the least, our valuable customers. I also, thank all of you for your continued confidence in us.
Sanjay Dalmia Chairman