It gives me immense pleasure to communicate with our esteemed shareholder family about the performance of the Company for the year and our journey going forward. The fiscal year 2014-15 has been a year of change, a year of high expectations and a year of mixed results for the Indian economy. Initial estimates by the Government show that economic growth accelerated to 7.4%. A more robust economic performance as compared to earlier estimates emerged from revised data based on an updated base year, wider coverage of goods and services, and the inclusion of tax data to estimate economic activity. Monthly industrial production estimates indicate a more modest upturn. The production of capital goods expanded after three years in the red. However, consumer durables continued to decline. The financial sector also got a fillip, due to government's financial inclusion schemes and the issuance of new banking licenses by RBI would further strengthen the financial sector.
International Monetary Fund projected that India will overtake China as the fastest growing emerging economy in 2015-16 by clocking a growth rate of 7.5%, helped by its recent policy initiatives, pick-up in investments and lower oil prices. World Bank too has similar GDP growth forecast for India for the current fiscal year. These estimates are largely based on India's economy now being on a cyclical upswing and forward-looking indicators suggest domestic demand is gathering momentum. The government's initiative for Make in India, Digital India, enhancing the foreign investment limit in defence, railways and insurance sectors; fuel subsidy reforms in terms of deregulation of diesel prices, review of gas pricing and direct transfer of LPG subsidies into the beneficiaries accounts; improving access to long-term financing for infrastructure projects; and auction of coal mines and spectrum; Radio FM frequencies and other ease of doing business measures have boosted overall confidence of the Investors. Low inflation has enabled the Reserve Bank of India to cut interest rates easing pressure on the private sector. Lower rates as well as the government's infrastructure and disinvestment programs should provide a boost to domestic-oriented industries. The dampener to these growth expectations could be the monsoons and the global economic scenario prevailing at present.
During the year, the total consolidated and standalone income of the Company increased by 1.63% to Rs. 786.11 Crores and 3.67% to Rs. 110.45 Crores respectively. Considering the present economic scenario, your Company strives to grow its business in the following sectors viz. Media, Investment, Treasury and Real Estate.
Overview and sectorial performance of Company's investments
Media and Entertainment Industry in India is worth R 1.02 Lakhs Crores, which will grow to Rs. 1.9 Lakh Crores by 2018, growing at a rate of 13.9% CAGR. The big challenge for the Entertainment Media Industry is the Government mandated deadline for digitisation of over 70 million homes in Phase III by December 31, 2015 and another 30 million homes are due to be digitised by December 31, 2016 in rural areas. With the significant presence in Phase I and II of DAS through IMCL, your Company is well poised through its subsidiaries viz. IndusInd Media and Communications Limited (IMCL) and Grant Investrade Limited (GIL) to take significant stake in the digitisation of thousands of towns and cities in Phase III. 2014 has been a turning point for the Media and Entertainment Industry in India in many ways. With the current Government's optimistic outlook, business sentiment has been positive and strengthened by a number of growth promoting policies. The Media & Entertainment Industry is clearly at a point where your Company's exponential growth is expected to grow which will be driven largely through digitisation in Phase III and IV which will enable enhanced broadband and TV everywhere promoting multi screen distribution potential.
IndusInd Media & Communications Limited (IMCL)
Last year, your Company's principal subsidiary i.e. IMCL has successfully managed digitalisation in the Phase I and II. IMCL is now taking steps to expand in the Phase III & IV digitalisation program. Phase III digitalisation deadline is December 2015 and Phase IV is December 2016. This expansion will have very little investment requirement as IMCL will rely on the HITS platform provided by Grant Investrade Limited, a fellow subsidiary Company for the launch, both with respect to the headend equipment and the set top boxes. For this purpose, IMCL has entered into a MoU with GIL for provision of passive white label infrastructure services. This will enable IMCL to upgrade its consumer base to a very high level of sophisticated digital video services at very minimum cost.
Grant Investrade Limited (Grant)
Grant Investrade Limited (GIL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company has last year embarked on a project for setting up infrastructure to provide services under the Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) platform to the Cable TV industry. GIL has been granted permission by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) to launch HITS. GIL believes that the entire expansion in the Phase III & IV cities for digitalisation can best be addressed through the HITS technology owing to the superior technology, cost effectiveness as compared to the traditional methods of transmitting signals through fibre, low investment in capital equipment by the cable operators and at the same time ensuring that world class quality of service is ensured for the consumers. The brand name of the "Headend-in-the-Sky" (HITS) services to be provided by GIL is 'NXT Digital'.
HITS is a satellite multiplex service that provides cable channels to cable television operations. The HITS service effectively replaces the more complex traditional headend. HITS as a concept was developed to deliver signals to small cable headends that did not find it viable to install their own Conditional Access Systems (CAS) and centralized services like SMS and billing.
There are approximately 60,000 cable operators and over 6,000 Independent Cable Operators (ICO's) functioning in analog networks. Of the 6,000 ICO's very few have applied for DAS license for Phase III. These operators are going to greatly benefit from the state-of-art digital satellite multiplex service of NXT Digital. It is fully expected that by March 31, 2016, NXT Digital will serve million of customers through hundreds of operators giving them a superior technology at a value for money affordable cost.
IDL Speciality Chemicals Limited (IDL)
Your Company has approved the Scheme of Amalgamation of IDL Speciality Chemicals Limited, wholly owned subsidiary with your Company. The Scheme envisages resulting in consolidation of the business in one entity and strengthening the position of merged entity by enabling it to harness and optimize the synergies of the two companies. Once the scheme is approved, there will be an increase in the trading stock of a listed share in the banking sphere and a significant increase in the land bank for the two metros of Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Primary Health Care Centers
This year also, your Company has generously funded the Hinduja Foundation in implementing its Primary Health Care project for up-gradation of Primary Health Centers and Sub Centers in Jawahar Taluka, Palghar District, Maharashtra. The project focuses on providing access to basic health care facilities to poor people. This envisages the Company's continuous efforts to serve the society especially the underprivileged sections of the Society.
Hinduja Foundation is collaborating with Additional Collector at Jawahar for Upgrading Primary Health Centers (PHCs) and Basic Health Centers (BHCs) there by strengthening health services in the rural and tribal communities, thus creating a role model project for public private partnership. These PHCs and BHCs are being strengthened in collaboration with the Govt. Health Department.
Your Company will keep evaluating various business opportunities towards increasing stakeholder's value. Your Company fully expects that the tremendous opportunities available in Phase III of digitising over 70 million homes will be fully seized by its two subsidiaries IMCL and GIL and it is expected that these opportunities will be monetized due to the adoption of the prepaid model and will be value accretive to the shareholders, thereby unlocking the value of subsidiaries of your Company. Similarly the other investments made by your Company have continued to grow year-on- year adding value to investors wealth.
I would like to place on record my sincere appreciation of your unstinted support to the Company. I would also like to thank the Directors, Management and Employees for the good performance registered. Also my thanks go out to our Bankers, Auditors and Advisors for their help and guidance during the year to maintain the highest standards of corporate governance, a top priority for the group.