ITC not to exit cigarette business: Deveshwar | business | Hindustan Times
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ITC not to exit cigarette business: Deveshwar

business Updated: Jul 24, 2009 16:43 IST

ITC chairman YC Deveshwar on Friday said that the company would not exit its once bread and butter cigarette business, although it would continue diversifying into more new areas of business.

Replying to shareholders' queries at the 98th AGM of the company here, he said, "We want to diversify, but also not give up the established business of cigarettes."

The non-cigarette portfolio of ITC's business, which includes hospitality and apparels, contributes more than 51 per cent of the net turnover.

"In India, the cigarette business is subject to high levels of taxation. We have urged the government to moderate the rates of taxation which would yield higher revenue to the exchequer," he said.

To a query whether ITC was planning to enter the mineral water business, Deveshwar said that India was going to face an acute shortage of potable water in future.

"It is an attractive business, but we do not announce our plans much in advance."

Asked whether the company was keen on taking over East India Hotels and the Leela Group, Deveshwar said, "These are good investments. We do not want to make any hostile bid."

ITC has nearly 14 per cent stake in EIH and three per cent in Leela.