Kolkata– ITC Ltd aspires to become a multinational company and a national champion, company’s Chairman and CEO Y.C. Deveshwar told shareholders on Friday. ITC has planned multiple projects with an outlay of Rs 25,000 crore over the next five years, he added.

“Indian companies become multinational. That is our aspiration.. to make ITC one such multinational,” he said while replying to shareholders’ queries in the 105th annual general meeting.

Y.C. Deveshwar
Y.C. Deveshwar

“The company is going to have plants all over India. And you (shareholders) should hope thatAwe should have plants all over the world. But charity begins at home,” he said.

Deveshwar aid that there are inspiring examples of national champions worldwide who enrich their economies in many dimensions and bring honour to their countries by their innovative excellence.

“Apple in the US, Samsung in Korea, Toyata in Japan are some of these exemplary corporations. Can we in India not dream of building our own institutions that stand amongst the finest in the world? I believe we can, and we must,” he told shareholders.

Deveshwar said although he hoped to continue to address the shareholders in the coming years as chairman of the company, it was the last time he was addressing them in the joint capacity of chairman and CEO.

“There is unfinished agenda. I am very happy to say that we have a world-class youthful team at the company and that is going to take this company forward and will outdo what we did in the past,” he said.

Deveshwar said, “First we must play in the Indian global market and overcome the disadvantage that the Indian companies have…and after we tested our strength with the global markets here, then we will go overseas.

“We are not satisfied with where we are. Because it is the constructive force of dissatisfaction gives you the energy to move forward. And we always have found ways of getting the constructive force of dissatisfaction so that we can make fine ways to make improvement in the future.”

The strategy to pursue multiple drivers of growth has led to a 17-fold growth in company’s non-cigarette businesses since 1996, registering a net segment revenue of Rs 23,000 crore.

“Compared to the size of ITC in 1996, the non-cigarette businesses along represent a size akin to creating 5 ITCs of that time,” he said.