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Diversified conglomerate ITC on Thursday forayed into the fresh fruit and vegetables market with a new brand Farmland. Beginning its journey in the highly untapped packaged fresh vegetables market in India with four variants of potatoes, the company plans to come up with more such offerings every quarter in line with its new-found focus on branded fresh and processed food and beverage market.

According to S Sivakumar, head of agri business, ITC, the product category is currently the largest among all fresh fruit and vegetables in India, seeing a total business of Rs 70,000 crore. The new products will be priced at up to 15 per cent premium to unorganised market prices. And their retailers will be allowed to adjust prices depending on retail market prices.

BENGALURU: ITC Foods, the branded packaged food division of diversified conglomerate ITC, expects its instant noodles brand Yippee to join the Rs 1,000-crore revenue club by 2020 and emerge as the fourth power brand, turbo-charging the unit's ambitious growth plans.Yippee, which was launched in 2010 and includes both noodles and pastas, already has a share of 22.5% in a market that is roughly valued at about Rs 4,000 crore.

Country's biggest cigarette maker ITC Ltd reported almost 6% rise in net profit at Rs 2,640 cr for the September quarter as against Rs 2,500 crore in year-ago period, helped by lower costs.

Total income during the quarter under review was Rs 10,258.13 crore as against Rs 14,091.96 crore in the year-ago period.

Salt-to-hotel conglomerate ITC is exploring ways to develop health and wellness consumer products. The firm, currently experimenting with medicinal plants, may foray into the fast-growing natural personal care products market eventually. While it has already ventured into fortified food products under its Aashirvaad brand, the next phase may focus on covering therapeutic, preventive and post-care segments.

To begin with, it has taken up a farm-level project at Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh this year, where it is studying an array of medicinal plants like ashwagandha, sarpagandha, mint, tulsi and gudmar, among others.

Diversified firm ITC has filed a Rs 1,000-crore defamation suit against proxy advisory firm IiAS at the Calcutta High Court for allegedly making 'defamatory' statements against the company and its directors.

In the suit, filed last month, ITC said Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IiAS) had published two reports that were "false, defamatory and malicious" on its website in July 2017 before the AGM of the company.

To kill a domestic (cigarette) brand in favour of a smuggled one is not in the interest of the country, ITC chairman Y C Deveshwar said at a press conference following the company’s annual general meeting.

The cigarette industry is facing one of the steepest rates of taxation, with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council recently increasing the cess on this. In six years, taxes have gone up by 202 per cent.

ITC has raised prices of select cigarette brands to pass on the 6-7 per cent hike in the additional cess on cigarettes.

Sameer Deshmukh, a research analyst with Reliance Securities, said the price hikes were 6-15 per cent across brands with the average hike coinciding with the 6-7 per cent rise in effective taxes under the goods and services tax.

Brokerages were pessimistic on the outlook for ITC Ltd after the GST Council yesterday in an unusual move raised the cess on cigarettes, following the implementation of GST earlier this month. Several analysts downgraded their recommendation on ITC shares, which fell as much as 15% intraday, dragging the NSE Nifty down by 80-100 points in the morning trade to below 9,900 and widening the gap for the benchmark index from the milestone of 10,000 points that it has been eyeing for some time now.

Proxy advisory firm Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IiAS) has asked shareholders to vote against consumer goods giant ITC’s plan to pay a hefty salary to its chairperson Y C Deveshwar for his non-executive role. ITC shareholders would vote on the proposal to pay a monthly remuneration of Rs 1 crore in its upcoming AGM on July 28.

In a report titled “ITC succession plan: Letting it go”, released on Thursday, IiAS said it believed “the board structure, and the proposed remuneration, signal Deveshwar’s continuing control over the company, which undermines the recently appointed CEO Sanjiv Puri,” adding “Once Deveshwar has stepped down, he must let go.”

ITC has moved higher to its new high of Rs 353, up 9% in early morning trade, extending its Friday’s 4% gain on BSE, in the backdrop of implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) from July 1.

Analysts at Reliance Securities expects ITC to benefit in GST regime, as the tax outgo will remain similar to the current tax structure. That apart, the new regime also provides more clarity and uniformity in taxes across states.

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