ITC Blog

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hilton, Leela & ITC eye Raj Mahal Palace

Raj Mahal Palace in Jaipur, belonging to Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh, is in talks with domestic and international hotel majors to lease out the palace.

Informed sources said The Leela, ITC Welcomgroup and Hilton are in the race to manage the heritage property, which boasted of guests such as Queen Elizabeth II, Princes Charles and Lady Diana, and Jacqueline Kennedy.

Confirming the development, Raj Mahal Palace GM R D Singh said, “We are in talks with several players for a leasing agreement.” Sources said players such as Leela and ITC could look at co-owning the property as they need to invest in upgrading and significantly increasing the room inventory at the Palace, sources added.

Raj Mahal Palace spread over 13 acre with an inventory of 20 rooms was managed by the Taj hotels from 1984 to 2001. The palace was built way back in 1729 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and it was converted into a hotel by Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh in 1979.

Currently, it is managed by the royal family. Industry observers claimed that the property once ranked amongst most luxurious hospitality assets in the country.

Repeated attempts to contact ITC and Hilton did not evince any response. ITC operates the luxury hotel Rajputana in Jaipur. Leela confirmed that it was looking at a heritage asset in Jaipur, but declined to identify the property.

“Currently the negotiations are on and we are evaluating a palace in Jaipur,” said Hotel Leelaventure vice-chairman Vivek Nair. “Considering that we have acquired a land in Delhi and are setting up hotels in Gurgaon and Udaipur, we need to be in Jaipur to complete the circuit,” Mr Nair added.

ITC takes over Australian agri-biotech Co

Diversified major ITC Ltd has taken over Australian agri-biotech company Technico Pty Ltd for an undisclosed sum, as part of a strategy to strengthen its foods business.

The deal was executed through its subsidiary Russell Credit, ITC, which launched potato chips under the brand Bingo, informed the stock exchanges on Friday.

An ITC spokesperson said the acquisition of Technico will help improve the profile of the company's foods business, but declined to provide financial details of the takeover.

Technico is an agri-biotech company with operations in Canada, China, India and Middle East through its subsidiaries.

Technico has relocated its corporate office in Chandigarh which is responsible for the group's strategic business development initiatives, financial management and overall global operations monitoring.

Technico provides bulk potato supply chain management, and has the award winning ‘TECHNITUBER’ seed technology which it claims would revolutionise the global seed potato industry.

Technico has seed manufacturing facilities in China, Canada, and Manpura in Himachal Pradesh.

The potato company provided supply chain solutions to global customers by using proprietary technology and a technology platform to implement affordable early field generation seed potato programmes, reduce seed exposure to soil-borne pathogens and rapidly introduce new varieties.

The Technico trading division utilises its extensive global reach to source potatoes throughout the year for bulk users.

ITC buys KK Birla group firm

In order to boost its agri business, ITC Ltd on Friday has acquired Technico Pty Ltd of Australia from KK Birla group outfit Chambal Fertilisers & Chemicals Ltd. The acquisition was done through the investment arm of ITC, Russell Credit Ltd.

Technico is engaged in potato seeds and supply chain management. ITC officials was tight-lipped about the size of the deal. Sources close to KK Birla group said that Technico along with its subsidiaries has a turnover of Rs 400-500 crore.

KK Birla group used to hold 78% stake in the Australian outfit through an investment arm in Singapore called Chambal Biotech Ltd. Chambal Biotech is a wholly owned subsidiary of the group flagship Chambal Fertilisers & Chemicals Ltd.

"Chambal bought 51% stake in Technico in 2003. Later on it was raised to 78%. Technico has a major market share in $100-billion potato chain management market in the US," sources added.

Sources also said that ITC has offered a good deal for Technico but did not disclosed its size. "There is a confidentiality clause in the deal. So Chambal cannot disclose it until ITC discloses," sources said.

According to information available, the company supplies chain solutions to global customers by using proprietary technology to deliver early-generation seed potato products.

The agri division of ITC had recorded a 51% jump in revenue in 2006-07 at Rs 2646 crore and is now one of the fastest-g rowing division of the FMCG and tobacco major. "The high yielding potato seeds will be like a backward integration for Bingo, the potato chips and finger snacks," sources added.

Technico has subsidiaries in India, Canada, China and United States along with Australia. The Indian subsidiary is called Chambal Agritech Ltd. The other subsidiaries are Technico Group America Inc in the US, Technico Horticultural (Kunming) Co Ltd, China, Technico Technologies Inc, Canada. Besides, Technico has four subsidiaries in Australia.

Chambal Agritech Ltd is a joint venture between Technico and Chambal Fertiliser. It produces high quality potato seed, which is known as technituber in India. The facility in Himachal Pradesh is one of the largest technituber producers in world. The group had invested over Rs 60 crore in the project.

ITC hiking capacity at Bolaram facility

Seeing a huge opportunity for environmental-friendly paper-based food packaging material in the West, the Paperboards and Specialty Papers Division of ITC has decided to invest Rs 35 crore by the year end at its Bolaram facility to increase capacity.

Post expansion, the capacity of the facility would go up to 42,000 tonnes a year from the present 18,000 tonnes, according to Mr Pradeep Dhobale, Chief Executive of the division.

BRC Certification

“We have received the BRC (British Retail Consortium) certificate for the unique product,” he told Business Line.

BRC, a lead association of retailers in the UK, prepared a set of global standards in food, packaging, consumer products and non-GM (genetically modified) food segments.

These norms require the retailers to procure products from suppliers, who are certified for these set standards.

The certificate from the European agency would help the company tap the huge opportunity in the retail industry.

Frito Lay loses snack mkt share to ITC's Bingo

ITC's Bingo is giving Pepsi a run for its money. While figures are not official, industry estimates that both companies agree with, that Pepsi’s share in the Rs 2000 crore-snack market has dropped from 60-45% since the launch of Bingo. ITC's retail success has forced Pepsi to renegotiate commercial terms with the Future Group, which runs Big Bazaar.

Retail tie-ups, regional flavours and distribution muscle, have helped ITC hit a bull’s eye with its snack Bingo. In less than 6 months, ITC's Bingo has managed to grab 16% market share and it hopes to touch 50% in a year. Not an easy feat when your battling Frito Lay for shelf space. ITC's tie-up with Biyani's Future Group hurt Pepsi hard by forcing the company to look at a revision of its commercial terms with the retail giant. While it’s been a flyer of a start, Pepsi still leads the overall Rs 2000 crore branded snack market with over 45% market share.

Where ITC scores on distribution, Pepsi rides high on brand recall with Lays and Kurkure. But ITC says is confident of bridging the gap. Arch rival Pepsi on the other hand will increase focus on Lehar namkeen, a category where ITC is yet to bite into. Pepsi is looking to invest heavily on distribution. Apart from Rs 3 packs, to penetrate further, the company is looking at new retail points like STD booths and cyber cafes as well. The company is also looking is upping spends to make inroads into the southern market, which continues to be dominated by regional players.

Both players are now looking at cashing in on the festive buzz with new advertising and product offerings. Where ITC has 12-14 new flavours in the pipeline, Pepsi hopes to launch 8-10 different flavours this year. As competition picks up, consumers are going to be spoilt for choice.

ITC to Increase Food Stores to 140 in Three Years

ITC Ltd., India's biggest tobacco company, plans to raise the number of its fruit and vegetable outlets to 140 in three years as it cuts dependence on cigarettes.

ITC plans to operate 50 of the Choupal Fresh stores by March in the cities of Hyderabad, Pune and Chandigarh, S. Sivakumar, who heads ITC's agriculture arm, told reporters in New Delhi today. The Kolkata-based company currently has three stores selling fresh produce.

ITC, 32 percent owned by British American Tobacco Plc, is adding new businesses, such as clothes retailing, to cut its reliance on tobacco revenue and will compete with Reliance Industries Ltd. in the fresh food industry. Sales at chain stores in India may rise more than eightfold to $97 billion by 2012, consultant Technopak Advisors Pvt. estimates.

``It's a positive move for ITC to invest more in expanding its network of stores and is in line with its plans to increase revenue from businesses other than cigarettes,'' said K.K. Mital, who helps manage the equivalent of $49 million of stocks at Escorts Asset Management in New Delhi. ``The competition in the retail business is intensifying but ITC has a unique business model.''

Reliance Industries, an energy company that opened its first retail store in November last year, is expanding its network of Reliance Fresh stores. Earlier this month, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer, and India's Bharti Group agreed to set up wholesale stores.

ITC rose 6.2 rupees, or 4 percent, to 158.4 rupees at the 3:30 p.m. local time close on the Bombay Stock Exchange, its biggest increase since July 25.

Rural Supermarkets

ITC uses its network of Internet kiosks and rural supermarkets to buy produce from farmers. It purchases produce such as wheat directly from farms, selling it as the Ashirvaad brand of flour and using it as an ingredient for its Sunfeast range of cookies.

The company has a network of more than 6,500 ``e-Choupal'' kiosks named after the Hindi word for a village meeting place. Farmers sell their crops online, then deliver the produce to supermarkets known as Choupal Sagars run by ITC, where they can buy everything from mobile phones to pesticides. ITC operates 18 Choupal Sagars.

Cigarette sales accounted for 48 percent of the company's annual sales in the year ended March 31 from about 65 percent in the year ended March 31, 2002.

ITC plans to add stores in more towns and cities as it builds its supply chain of fresh produce across the country.

``If we are in Pune and servicing it from a catchment area, then with a little more addition we can service Mumbai as well,'' Sivakumar said. India's financial hub Mumbai is 220 kilometers (137 miles) northwest of Pune.

The company will take advantage of the supply chain to grow its fresh food business, he said, without providing details of investments planned.

ITC stepping up rural push via Choupal stores

ITC, the country’s biggest tobacco company, today said that it would set up small-format stores in rural areas, on the lines of its existing hypermarket chain Choupal Sagar, by early next year.

The Kolkata-based company also plans to raise the number of its fruit and vegetable outlets to about 200 in three years, as it cuts dependence on cigarettes.

“The idea is to penetrate the rural areas where the income levels are even lesser, through smaller Choupal Sagar stores, each on an area of about one acre,” S Sivakumar, chief executive officer of ITC’s agri business, told journalists on the sidelines of the CII Marketing Summit here.

These stores, which would each cost Rs 2 crore, would be set up in small towns and rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, Sivakumar said.

ITC also plans to operate 50 of the Choupal Fresh stores by March in the cities of Hyderabad, Pune and Chandigarh. The company currently has three stores (one each in these three cities) selling fresh produce. In the second phase, ITC would set up 140 new stores in other cities including Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.

Sivakumar said that the company was also looking at a multi-fold increase in the number of its internet kiosks, or e-Choupals (named after the Hindi word for a village meeting place) where villagers can access the internet.

“We will increase the number of e-Choupals from the current 6,400 in 130 districts, to 20,000 across 350 districts, in the next 5-6 years,” Sivakumar said.

ITC uses its network of internet kiosks and rural supermarkets to buy produce from farmers. It purchases produce such as wheat directly from farms, selling it as the Ashirvaad brand of flour and using it as an ingredient for its Sunfeast range of cookies.

Farmers sell their crops online, then deliver the produce to supermarkets called Choupal Sagars run by ITC, where they can buy everything from mobile phones to pesticides. ITC operates 18 Choupal Sagars. The company is also focusing on strengthening health services in rural India.

“Having looked at poor health facilities in rural areas, ITC is scaling up the health services and we have already experimented in Madhya Pradesh and would be soon expanding to Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra,” Sivakumar said.

ITC, 32 per cent owned by British American Tobacco, is adding new businesses, such as clothes retailing, to cut its reliance on tobacco revenue and will compete with Reliance Industries in the fresh food industry.

Sales at chain stores in India may rise more than eight-fold to $97 billion (Rs 397,700 crore ) by 2012, consultant Technopak Advisors estimates.

“It’s a positive move for ITC to invest more in expanding its network of stores and is in line with its plans to increase revenues from businesses other than cigarettes,” said K K Mital, who helps manage the equivalent of $49 million of stocks at Escorts Asset Management in New Delhi. “The competition in the retail business is intensifying, but ITC has a unique business model.”

Reliance Industries, previously an energy company, is opening Reliance Fresh stores. Earlier this month, Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s biggest retailer, and India’s Bharti Group agreed to set up wholesale stores.

ITC to foray into soaps

The buzz about ITC plunging into the highly penetrated toilet soap market is getting louder by the day.
It is learnt that the cigarette-to-hotels major is eyeing the mass segment of the soap category, which is why some existing players are said to be sitting on old stock and holding on to the price line.

Sources said ITC plans to unveil its soap brand in the next two-three months. The name of the brand is being kept closely under wraps, and, it is not going to be the same brand, Superia, which the company was test marketing over a year ago in some rural areas, sources added.

A senior industry official told TOI: "Companies are holding on to the price line for the moment, despite pressure building on the raw material price front. We don't want to get caught in a situation where we raise prices and ITC launches its soap brand at a lower price."

Palm oil prices are currently ruling at around $650 per tonne. Industry analysts are skeptical whether I TC should enter the market at such high raw material prices.

Dealers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies said that the last price increase that took place in the soap segment was initiated by Hindustan Unilever (HUL) in July this year.

HUL had taken a mid-year price increase on various products across categories. Prices of Pears soap and Lux were revised upwards. In the case of its popular soap brand Lifebuoy, HUL had reduced the grammage, keeping the price intact.

HUL is the leading soap maker in the country, with a market share of 54%.

As for Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL), the second largest soap maker with a market share of 10%, the company had recently said that prices would be raised in October-November.

Industry analysts said ITC's entry is bound to create excitement in the Rs 4,400 crore toilet soap category.
Decible levels on the advertising and promotion front are set to soar in the next few months. Besides, the Rs 12,369 crore ITC has made a significant splash in the packaged foods category, with Sunfeast and Aashirvaad.

Under Wills Lifestyle specialty stores of lifestyle retailing, ITC offers a range of Wills Classic work wear, Wills Clublife evening wear and Essenza Di Wills range of fine fragrances and body care products.

ITC set to get 3 acres for cigarette unit expansion

ITC’s plans to kick off a Rs 300-crore expansion at its cigarette factory in the city are on track. At the instance of the Union shipping ministry, Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) is about to issue the crucial offer letter to ITC that will pave the way for allotment of a prime 3 acre slot adjacent to the company’s existing cigarette facility in Kidderpore.

But actual land allotment on a 99-year long-term lease will transpire after ITC shells out an upfront premium to Kolkata port, which owns the land. The upfront premium will be based on the land value computed by the state.

Land value of the 3 acres at Kidderpore has been pegged at roughly Rs 6.4 lakh per cottah by the state finance department. Accordingly, at 60 cottahs per acre, total land value would work out at a shade over Rs 11.5 crore. Final upfront premium payable by ITC will include statutory municipal and service taxes.

Confirming the development, a senior KoPT official told ET: “We have just received a communication from the West Bengal government that the 3 acres in Kidderpore proposed to be allotted to ITC (on a 99-year long-term lease) has been valued at roughly Rs 6.4 lakh per cottah.”

“While the Union shipping ministry has cleared ITC’s application, actual land allotment is conditional on ITC’s payment of upfront premium that is based on the land value computed by the state finance department. We will shortly send the offer letter to ITC,” the official added.

An ITC spokesperson said: “Our existing cigarette factory at Kidderpore is being upgraded with new investment and technology. For the proposed Rs 300-crore expansion, we require more space. We are awaiting a confirmation on the valuation of the 3 acres from the state government and a communication from KoPT.” Details of the upcoming expansion exercise and its impact on ITC’s cigarettes business remain under wraps.

In ITC’s case, the Union shipping ministry clearance was mandatory since it involves a land allotment application on a 99-year long-term lease. Over the years, the duration of all land allotments by KoPT on long-term lease basis have been capped at 30 years. Under the Major Port Trusts Act of 1963, KoPT’s board of trustees is not equipped to clear land allotment applications where the duration of a long-term lease agreement exceeds 30 years.

“Since ITC has sought land allotment from KoPT on a 99-year long-term lease, the Union shipping ministry had to step in and also involve the West Bengal government to ascertain the value of the particular 3 acres in Kidderpore,” said a Union shipping ministry source.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

History of the Company

1910

- On 24th August the Company was incorporated as a Private Limited Company under the name, Imperial Tobacco Co. of India Ltd. The Company manufacture and distribute cigarettes and smoking tobaccos and speciality papers including cigarette tissue papers (Sole manufacturer in the country). Other activities include tobacco leaf processing, printing and packaging, hotels, food and exports.

1953

- The Company acquired the manufacturing business of Tobacco Manufacturers (India) Ltd., and the Complementary Lithographic printing business of Printers (India) Ltd.

1954

- The Company was converted into a Public Limited Company on 27th October.

1970

- The name of the Company was changed from the Imperial Tobacco Co. of India Ltd., to India Tobacco Co. Ltd., in May.

- 5,00,000 Right shares issued to Indian shareholders (prem. Rs 3 per shares). 32,90,000 No. of Equity Shares offered to the public (prem. Rs. 3 per share).

1972

- On October Company entered into hotel business.

1973

- Company received the approval of Govt. for setting up three processing plants. 1974

- On 1st April name again changed to I T C Ltd.

- During this period an offer for sale of 28,04,775 equity shares at par was made to the Indian public by the three major non-resident shares holders viz., Tobacco manufactures (India) Ltd, Tobacco Investments Ltd., and Rothmans International Ltd. all of UK.

1975

- ITC Ltd Purchased the net asset in India of India Leaf Tobacco Development Co. Ltd. (UK).

1976

- During December some foreign shareholders offered a total of 38,00,000 No. of equity shares of Rs 10 each at a premium of Rs 5.00 for sale to reduce the foreign equity holding of the Company to 40%. The shares offered were 10,95,774 shares by Tobacco Manufacturers (India) Ltd., 26,42,216 shares by Tobacco Investments Ltd., U.K., and 57,010 shares by Rothmans International Ltd., U.K.

1978

- 37,90,000 Bonus shares issued in prop. 1:5. 1979

- The name of the Company's chain of hotels was changed from "Welcom Hotels" to "Welcomgroup". The company entered into a Marketing Service and Reservations Agreement with the Sheration International Incorporated which was sactioned by Govt. on 27th January.

1980

- 45,48,000 Bonus shares issued in prop. 1:5.

1983

- A new Company under the name Gujarat Hotels was incorporated under a joint venture agreement signed between the Company and Gujarat Industrial Investment Corporation. This Co. had set up a 144-room hotel at Vadodara known as Welcomegroup Vadodara.

- The Company is holding 24.9% of the subscribed equity capital of Rs 348 lakhs of Gujarat Hotels Ltd., as on 31.03.1993.

1984

- 29,38,050 shares allotted to bondholders in exchange of accrued interest on 1.7.1984.

1985

- 29,42,060 Shares allotted to bondholders in exchange of accrued interest.

1986

- The Company signed a joint venture agreement with MP Audyogik Vikas Nigam for setting up of four hotels over the next five years.

- ITC Filtrona Ltd. a 50:50 joint venture Company promoted by the Company and Filtrona International Ltd. UK. The Company manufactures high technology filters for the cigarette industry.

1987

- New brands viz., Wills Flake Premium Filter and Scissors Filter were introduced. Long-term agreements were entered into with the unions of factories located at Calcutta, Saharanpur and Munger. In Bangalore, however, working was affected by a strike for 114 days.

- The Company acquired Nedovs Hotel, Srinagar on lease. An agreement was concluded for building a new hotel in Jaipur and the hotel division added another 30 rooms in Mughal Sheraton, Agra, to cater to the growing demand.

1988

- In May the company formed a new division called Agribusiness Division for carrying out research and development on production and distribution of high yielding cultivars with emphasis on oil seeds, marketing of edible oils in bulk and consumer packs and export of agricultural produce.

- A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the authorities to open an Indian restaurant in Odessa, U.S.S.R.

- The Company subscribed for 11,86,157 No. of equity shares of Rs 10 each for cash at par in the equity capital of PABL.

- Different varities of oilseeds under the brand name of "ADARSH" and cooking oil under "SUNDROP" were launched.

- New investments were made in water and bulk liquid packaging project. The Company explored the possibility of setting up a new software development centre in India with ability to access Company's customers' computers abroad through data communication links.

- A major part of the business of India Leaf Tobacco Development Co. Ltd., (U.K.) (ILTD) consisted of its operations in India where it operated as a sister concern of the Company. ILTD was a pioneer in introducing Virginia tobacco to India and over the year, developed into a highly efficient enterprise, besides being a very large exporter of tobacco. The Company purchases, with effect from 1st April, 1975, the net assets in India of ILTD whereupon it became a division of the Company.

1989

- During the year Company entered into a foreign collaboration agreement with Liqui Box Corporation of U.S.A. for manufacture of Plastic bags dispensing valves and filments, Industrial Machinery for use with packaging and filling system for manufacture at the company's industrial unit at Thiruvottiyur in Tamil Nadu.

- 331,68,110 Bonus Equity shares issued in prop. 1:1.

- The Company proposed to evaluate a methodology for extraction of tobacco protein and solenesol and also investigate on the feasibility of converting tobacco waste into reconstituted waste.

- Due to political disturbances in Kashmir, the project work at hotel Nedovs in Srinagar was suspended. The Bukhara restaurant was franchised to the Sheraton hotel in Hongkong also.

1990

- Refined mustard oil under the brand name "REAL GOLD" was introduced in the market.

- On 1st April Tribeni Tissues Ltd was amalgamated with the Co. As per the terms of the merger, 5 equity shares of Rs.10 each of the company were issued at par without payment in cash for every six equity shares of Rs.10 each held in TTL. Accordingly, 105,95,070 No. of Equity shares were allotted to the shareholders of the erstwhile TTL.

1991

- The company entered into an agreement with MISR Import & Export Co. A.R.E Cairo, Egypt for the export of tea to Egypt on Commission at the rate of 3% payable in U.S. Dollars on the FOB/C&F value of each transaction.

- Company proposed to enter and agreement with National Trading & Developing Establishment, Abu Dhabi for export of safety matches to UAE on commission at the rate of 3% on FOB value of each transaction.

- Company proposed to enter and agreement with a firm under the name of Jalil Rastar, Tehran, Iran for export of tea to Iran on commission at the rate of 5% on the FOB/C&F value of each transaction.

1992

- Since January there was labour unrest at Tribeni Tissues paper mill which led to a lockout at the mill with effect from 27th May.

- On 8th April, ITC Global Holdings Pte. Ltd was incorporated in Singapore a wholly owned trading subsidiary of the Company.

- During the same period a wholly owned subsidiary ITC Infotech Ltd. incorporated in UK with an authorised capital of US $ 2 million and paid up capital of US $5 lakh.

1993

- The hybrid seeds business was being repositioned in the newly formed ITC Zere Co. Ltd., a joint venture paticipation with Zere Co. Plc of UK.

- The Company successfully launched Hero brand Cigarettes.

- During this period a finacial service division was formed. Companies Associated, ITC Classic Finance Ltd, proposed to enter a joint venture with Peregrine Group of Hong Kong through a new company, ITC Peregrine Capital Pvt. Ltd. to commence investment banking and brokerage services business.

- In October the Company issued 45,00,000 Global Depository Receipts representing 45,00,000 ordinary shares. Three offered GDRs were to be issued with one warrent to subscribe for one warrant GDR upon payment of US $ 15.30.

- Two new brands viz., `Classic Milds' and `Hero' were launched at the premium and small-length ends respectively.

1994

- Company propose to sell various edible oil brands to ITC Agro Tech Ltd. for a consideration of Rs.25 crores.

- On 21st February Tiruvottiyur establishment resumed following a tripartie settlement.

- 121,318,177 bonus equity shares issued in propn. 1:1, 2,85,550 No. of equity shares issued on conversion of 1,85,450 warrants.

- Company introduced scissors standard.

- ITC classic finance entered into arrangemnt for launching mutual funds ITC Classic Finance had set up a Company to enable operation in real estate and also a home finance Co. to provide finance to a range of buyers in the Commercial/Home Property markets.

1995

- Company introduced capstan Menthol filter, capstan standard and Bristo standared and re-designed Gold Flake Kings and Berkley Filter. Further, Gold Flake Lights in Kingsize was introduced into test markets.

- The consideration of the edible oil business could not be completed due to adverse business conditions experienced by the ITC Agro-Tech Ltd.

- During the year a new company ITC Classic Threadneedls AMC, a joint venture between ITC Classic Finance Ltd. and Threadneedle Asset Management was formed to launch a series of Mutual Funds.

- 25,78,150 No. of Equity shares allotted on exercise of 12,89,075 warrants on payment of U.S. $15.30 per warrant.

1996

- Company purchased Mantralayam undertaking for a consideration of Rs.115.80 crores aganst settlement of all dues. The plant has since been licensed back to ITC Agro-tech for five years.

- The Company has launched `Classic Ultra Milds' and `Wills Natural Lights' brands during the year.

1997

- ITC Classic Finance Ltd. was amalgamated with ICICI Ltd.

- ConAgra Inc. U.S.A., invested in ITC Agro-Tech Limited by way of preferential allotment of over 51% equity, through its Mauritius based subsidiary, CAG-TECH Limited.

- Having taken an in-principle decision to acquire the businesses, the ITC board has set up an internal committee to go into the nitty-gritty of the real estate business in CIDL.

- City based Indian Tobacco Company workers will go on a day-long strike on December 26, in protest against the management's move to retrench 416 workmen from its cigarette manufacturing unit.

1998

- ITC Ltd has signed an agreement with National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) to get its securities admitted for dematerialisation.

- ITC Ltd is one of the most liquid scrips in the capital market. With domestic institutions having a considerable stake in this counter, this move is likely to improve liquidity in demat trading.

- ITC Ltd has undertaken a comprehensive exercise to restructure all its wholly-owned subsidiaries to align them with the four thrust areas viz., tobacco, hotels, paper and paperboards and printing and packaging.

- ITC has nearly 105 subsidiaries, which are involved in various kinds of operations.

1999

- Tobacco gaint ITC has raised its stake in paper and paperboards subsidiary, ITC Bhadrachalam Paperboards, from 37% to 51% through a preferential allotment of equity shares. This follow the allotment, by the board of ITC Bhadrachalam Paperboards, of 1,91,20,000 No. of equity shares of Rs. 10 each for cash, at an issue price of Rs. 65 per share and 11% redeemable cumulative-preference shares of the face value of Rs 100 each, for cash, at par to promoter company ITC.

- ITC will set up a new tobacco processing department (TPD) because the increased production will make it economical to process tobacco on site.

- The Anaparti factory of ITC Ltd -- ILTD division, received the Rajiv Gandhi National Quality award for 1995.

- Mr. K.S. Rao, Chief Executive of the ILTD division of ITC, received the award from the Union Minister for Chemical, Fertilisers, Food and Consumer Affairs, Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala, at Vigyan Bhavan.

2000

- ITC Infotech Ltd, the UK-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, and Compaq Computer (I) Pvt. Ltd. signed an MoU aimed at exploring business opportunities for deploying e-enabled solutions.

- The Company has launched a project "e-Choupal" in Bhopal to Web-enable farmers to make a beginning in agricultural e-trade.

- ITC Ltd its entry into retailing business by launching branded leisurewear apparels as part of its diversification strategy into new areas.

- The Company is hiving off its Infotech services businesses in India, the US and UK and merging them into a separate wholly-owned subsidiary.

- The IT division has entered into agreements with Compaq and expand the IT business.

- The company set up the Lifestyle Retailing Business Division. A strategic Business Unit for the greeting cards business was set up under the Packaging and Printing Division.

- ITC has launched Wills Sport, a full range of internationally styled premium wear for men and women.

- ITC Infotech Ltd., the recently-launched it subsidiary of ITC Ltd., has become one of the select software organisations in the world to achieve the distinction of being certified at Level-5 on the prestigious Capability Maturity Model.

- Tobacco Company ITC launched a website, billed as `one stop terminus' for international customers of agricultural commodities. The website, ww.itcibd.com, will provide information on trading of key commodities.

- The Company have set up units in the north-eastern States to avail of special incentives relating to Central excise duties.

- On 21th August, ITC Infotech India Limited became a wholly owned subsidiary of the company. Ansal Hotels Limited became a subsidiary of ITC Hotels Limited effective from 12th July.

- The Board of the company has recommended an employee stock option scheme.

- ITC Ltd. has proposed an Employee Stock Option Plan where ordinary shares up to 5 per cent of the issued and subscribed capital will be issued to employees.

- Having carved a niche for itself by launching the first branded lifestyle apparel, Wills Sport, in Delhi in July 2000, the Lifestyle Retailing Business Division of ITC Limited has now big plans up its sleeve.

- ITC Ltd, the Rs 8,816 crore cigarette and hotels company, has decided to merge its subsidiary, the Rs 623 crore ITC Bhadrachalam Paperboards Ltd, with itself.

2002

- ITC Ltd has informed that the Board of Directors, appointed Mr. J.B. Stevens as an Additional Non-Executive Director of the Company and the Board accepted the resignation of Mr. A.A. R. Rodrigures.

2002

- ITC Ltd has informed BSE that a large number of workmen have resumed work at the company's printing factory at Tiruvottiyur Chenna.

- ITC Ltd, which has acquired a shade over 14 per cent in EIH Ltd, which owns the Oberoi chain of hotels.

-ITC Ltd. has informed the Exchange that the Company on May 06, 2002 has allotted 20,96,982 Ordinary Shares of Rs 10/- each in the ratio of 1share of the company for every 16 fully paid up Equity Shares of Rs 10- each held in ITC Bhadrachalam Paperboards Ltd to the members of the ITC Bhadrachalam, in terms of the Scheme of Amalgamation of ITC Bhadrachalam with the company.

- ITC, Tobacco major, has launched Aashirvaad atta making its foray into Indian atta market.

- ITC's greetings cards business and Maple Leaf have entered into Joint Venture where Maple Leaf will exclusively manufacture pop-up cards for ITC.

- ITC Foods ands ITC Ltd, is finally foraying its way to the Rs 1,100 crore confectionery market. The foods division which has shifted office from Kolkata to Bangalore this month, has introduced its first confectionery product, acquired brand Minto in four cities.

-ITC Greeting Cards Business (ITC-GCB), has forayed into stationery products segment with the launch of Expressions PaperKraft.

-ITC Limited has taken over Wills brand. ITC had to acquire the Wills brand in the US, before it takes Wills merchandise to America.

-ITC Ltd. has informed the Exchange that the company has acquired further 56,000 ordinary shares of Nepalese Rupees 100/- each of Surya Nepal Pvt. Ltd. (Surya Nepal), earlier known as Surya Tobacco Company (P) Ltd, a company incorporated under the laws of Nepal.

-ITC Ltd has informed BSE that Industrial Development Bank of India ('IDBI') has appointed Mr T M Nagarajan, Deputy Managing Director IDBI, on the Board of Directors of the Company w e f August 14, 2002, as Nominee Director representing IDBI, in place of Mr R Vasudevan.

-ITC Board approves integration of Bhadrachalam Paperboards Division and Tribeni Tissues Division.

- ITC Ltd International Business Division (ITC-IBD) has introduced an online auction platform called Tradersnet along with its web-based initiative Planternet.

-ITC, now moves towards match business, it has diversified into the match business to earn more revenues from non-tobacco businesses.

2003

-ITC Ltd has informed to BSE that company's Spriha brand of natural incense sticks (Agarbathis) manufactured by Cottage Industries, a unit of the Sri Aurobindo Udyog Trust in Pondicherry was launched on February 21, 2003.

-ITC on April 04, introduced salt in the staple segment, as part of its efforts to clock a Rs 500 crore sales in five years. Salt is the second offering from ITC Foods' staple business in the past 10 months, under the brand name of 'Aashirvaad'.

-ITC group company, International Travel House (ITH), has divested 49 per cent equity in LeasePlan India to the Netherlands-based LeasePlan Corporation (formerly ABN AMRO Lease Holding NV), making it a wholly-owned subsidiary of the foreign company.

-ITC Ltd has set up a Rs 227 crore modernised pulp mill at its Bhadrachalam works aiming to become the first producer of ECF PSP in the country.

-ITC bags Golden Peacock award for cleaner tech

-ITC has forayed into alliance with several state governments to take up afforestation programmes and in lieu get land from which it can source wood-based feedstock for its paperboard business.

-ITC Ltd has informed that the Board of Directors of the Company at its meeting held on July 25, 2003 have noted the resignation of Mr T M Nagarajan, Nominee Director of Industrial Development Bank of India.

- Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) has joined with ITC Ltd. to unveil annual business competition -Ideas to Imprementation (i2I).

-NCDEX allies with ITC Ltd for data sharing.

-Company issued & allotted 27792 Ordinary Shares of Rs 10 each, upon exercise of 27792 options by eligible employees under the ITC Employee Stock Option Scheme.

Consequently the issued & subscribed share capital of the company stands increased to Rs 247,54,85,090 divided into 24,75,48,509 ordinary shares of Rs 10/- each.

-Bags Seagate Intelligent Enterprise of the Year award for the most innovative use of information technology

-Commences commercial production of paper using the environment-friendly ECF (elemental chlorine-free) technology at its Bhadrachalam unit in Andhra Pradesh

-Food wing of ITC eyes on 4 pc market share in biscuit market

-The government has not taken up the Supreme Court's suggestion to arrive at a compromise formula with tobacco major ITC for settling the long-drawn-out excise dispute on the ground that it was not clear about the legal provisions under which it could do so.

-ITC unveils new brand of agarbattis

2004

-ITC's Wills Lifestyle unveiled its fall/winter collection here on Jan 6. The collection, featuring Wills Classic formal wear, Wills Sport relaxed wear, Wills Clublife evening wear, and fashion accessories from Furla and Valentino from Italy, is available at ITC's Wills Lifestyle store near Nagarjuna Circle.

-ITC signs memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Andhra Pradesh government for wasteland development

-ITC win Rs 5.80 cr grant from British challenge fund

-Acquires paperboards business of M/s Bilt Industrial Packaging Company Ltd including its 65,000 MT per annum manufacturing facility at Thekkampatty Village, Coimbatore District, Tamil Nadu.

-ITC Food launches a range of 'cooking pastes' under its ready-to-eat gourmet cuisine brand Kitchens of India and readymeal Aashirwad brand

-Completes the process of acquiring the paperboard manufacturing facility of BILT Industrial Packaging Co Ltd. (Bipco) near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. The facility, renamed 'unit Kovai', will operate as part of the paperboards and specialty papers division of ITC, which has a unit at Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh.

-ITC unveils Sunfeast biscuits in Chennai

- ITC ties up with Israeli firm for e-choupals

- Crisil gives 'AAA(SO)' to PTCs of ITC

-ITC Ltd's Internet-based rural project, `e-Choupal', has won the inaugural `World Business Award' instituted in support of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals

-The International Business Division (IBD) of ITC has bagged the "Enterprise Business Transformation Award" for its unique web-based initiative called eChoupal. The award was announced in Shanghai as part of the Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Awards (WIBTA), for Asia Pacific.

-The international business division of ITC forays into trading of organic farm products segment

- Web based e-choupal programme of ITC bags inaugral 'World Business Award at International World Congress on June 8, 2004.

-ITC introduces new special incense gift packs in Bangalore

2005

- ITC Ltd becomes one of the very few companies in India to obtain the coveted Quality Management System certification ISO 9001:2000 for investor servicing.

- ITC Ltd wins 'Golden Peacock Global Award for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Emerging Economies for 2005'.

- ITC Ltd signs an MoU with Tripura Government for a bamboo development programme.

-ITC unveils new `5-in-1' agarbattis

-ITC unveils `Expressions Regalia'

-ITC e-Choupal gets Development Gateway Award