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ITC worried over lacklustre scrip performance

Amid a bloodbath in the market on Friday, the company chairman YC Deveshwar is disappointed with its performance, reports Jaidev Majumdar.

business Updated: Jul 27, 2007 18:46 IST
Jaidev Majumdar

Amid a bloodbath in the market on Friday, the ITC scrip stood firm, but the company’s chairman YC Deveshwar is disappointed with its performance in the markets.

Addressing shareholders at the 96th annual general meeting in Kolkata, Deveshwar said that as a professional, he can only work towards bettering the company’s topline and bottomline but has no control over the “uncertainty that has gripped the shares in the market.”

Responding to queries raised by several shareholders on why the company’s shares were so lacklustre in the stock exchanges of late, Deveshwar said that the imposition of high taxes on cigarettes has spelt doom for the company, while other tobacco manufacturers have got away with it.

Despite repeated attempts by ITC to take up the issue with the government, there has been no result. However, with the imposition of value added tax (VAT), there is likely to be a level playing field with other tobacco products manufacturers. “Cigarettes constitute 15 per cent of tobacco consumption in the country. We are deeply worried about the volumes. Hopefully, you will see some change from here on,” Deveshwar said.

A VAT of 12.5 per cent had been imposed on cigarette sales from April this year, which has pushed up prices, and ITC has said it was concerned taxes and tight regulations can affect its revenues.