New Delhi: Diversified conglomerate ITC on Friday said its net profit rose by 20.62 percent to Rs 2,051.85 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2012, on the back of robust sales in cigarettes, agri and paper businesses.
The company had posted a net profit of Rs 1,700.98 crore in the same period last fiscal, ITC said in a statement.
Net sales during the period under review stood at Rs 7,627.07 crore, up 23.1 percent from Rs 6,196.43 crore in the corresponding period last financial year.
"The stellar performance by the company is particularly remarkable when viewed against the backdrop of challenging business environment in which it was achieved, namely, a slowdown in economic growth, sustained high inflation and impact of steep hike in taxes on cigarettes during the year," the statement said.
The total FMCG net revenue during the quarter stood at Rs 5,440.06 crore with the cigarettes category accounting for Rs 3,657.36 crore.
ITC said the cigarette industry in India continues to be impacted by a discriminatory taxation and regulatory policy framework.
"Despite these challenging conditions, the company's cigarettes business, through its relentless focus on providing differentiated and world-class products to consumers, sustained its leadership position in the industry," it added.
The company said it introduced new variants, product enhancements across its cigarettes brand portfolio during the quarter leading to further consolidation of market standing.
Paper, paperboards and packaging business clocked net revenue of Rs 1,061.55 crore in the third quarter. Hotels segment had a net revenue of Rs 309.46 crore, while the agri business posted net sales of Rs 1,630.97 crore.
The company said its investments in a new paperboard facility at Bhadrachalam and the new packaging and printing facilities at Haridwar are nearing completion and are expected to become operational shortly.
ITC said growth in the hospitality vertical was muted during the quarter as the sector continued to be adversely impacted by the weak economic conditions prevailing in key international source markets and India.
During the period under review, the company said its cost of materials consumed increased to Rs 2,374.48 crore against Rs 1,946.22 crore in the year-ago period.
ITC scrips were trading at Rs 286.80 per share, in the afternoon trade, up 0.58 percent from the previous close on the BSE.