ITC Ltd (ITC) was incorporated on August 24, 1910, under the name Imperial Tobacco Company of India Ltd. to make cigarettes and tobacco. In 1975, the company entered the hospitality business with the acquisition of ITC-Welcomegroup Hotel Chola. the name of the Company was changed to I.T.C. Limited in 1974. In recognition of the Company's multi-business portfolio encompassing a wide range of businesses - Cigarettes & Tobacco, Hotels, Information Technology, Packaging, Paperboards & Specialty Papers, Agri-Exports, Foods, Lifestyle Retailing and Greeting Gifting & Stationery - the full stops in the Company's name were removed effective September 18, 2001. The Company now stands rechristened 'ITC Limited'.
ITC is one of India's foremost private sector companies with a market capitalisation of nearly US $ 14 billion and a turnover of over $ 5 billion. ITC is rated among the World's Best Big Companies, Asia's 'Fab 50' and the World's Most Reputable Companies by Forbes magazine, among India's Most Respected Companies by BusinessWorld and among India's Most Valuable Companies by Business Today. ITC ranks among India's `10 Most Valuable (Company) Brands', in a study conducted by Brand Finance and published by the Economic Times. ITC also ranks among Asia's 50 best performing companies compiled by Business Week.
ITC has a diversified presence in Cigarettes, Hotels, Paperboards & Specialty Papers, Packaging, Agri-Business, Packaged Foods & Confectionery, Information Technology, Branded Apparel, Personal Care, Stationery, Safety Matches and other FMCG products. While ITC is an outstanding market leader in its traditional businesses of Cigarettes, Hotels, Paperboards, Packaging and Agri-Exports, it is rapidly gaining market share even in its nascent businesses of Packaged Foods & Confectionery, Branded Apparel, Personal Care and Stationery. As one of India's most valuable and respected corporations, ITC is widely perceived to be dedicatedly nation-oriented.
ITC's Agri-Business is one of India's largest exporters of agricultural products. ITC is one of the country's biggest foreign exchange earners ( $ 3.2 billion in the last decade). The Company's 'e-Choupal' initiative is enabling Indian agriculture significantly enhance its competitiveness by empowering Indian farmers through the power of the Internet. This transformational strategy, which has already become the subject matter of a case study at Harvard Business School, is expected to progressively create for ITC a huge rural distribution infrastructure, significantly enhancing the Company's marketing reach.
ITC's wholly owned Information Technology subsidiary, ITC Infotech India Ltd, provides IT services and solutions to leading global customers. ITC Infotech has carved a niche for itself by addressing customer challenges through innovative IT solutions.
Its beginnings were humble. A leased office on Radha Bazar Lane, Kolkata, was the centre of the Company's existence. The Company celebrated its 16th birthday on August 24, 1926, by purchasing the plot of land situated at 37, Chowringhee, (now renamed J.L. Nehru Road) Kolkata, for the sum of Rs 310,000. This decision of the Company was historic in more ways than one. It was to mark the beginning of a long and eventful journey into India's future. The Company's headquarter building, 'Virginia House', which came up on that plot of land two years later, would go on to become one of Kolkata's most venerated landmarks. The Company's ownership progressively Indianised, and the name of the Company was changed to I.T.C. Limited in 1974. In recognition of the Company's multi-business portfolio encompassing a wide range of businesses - Cigarettes & Tobacco, Hotels, Information Technology, Packaging, Paperboards & Specialty Papers, Agri-Exports, Foods, Lifestyle Retailing and Greeting Gifting & Stationery - the full stops in the Company's name were removed effective September 18, 2001. The Company now stands rechristened 'ITC Limited'.
Though the first six decades of the Company's existence were primarily devoted to the growth and consolidation of the Cigarettes and Leaf Tobacco businesses, the Seventies witnessed the beginnings of a corporate transformation that would usher in momentous changes in the life of the Company.
ITC's Packaging & Printing Business was set up in 1925 as a strategic backward integration for ITC's Cigarettes business. It is today India's most sophisticated packaging house.
In 1975 the Company launched its Hotels business with the acquisition of a hotel in Chennai which was rechristened 'ITC-Welcomgroup Hotel Chola'. The objective of ITC's entry into the hotels business was rooted in the concept of creating value for the nation. ITC chose the hotels business for its potential to earn high levels of foreign exchange, create tourism infrastructure and generate large scale direct and indirect employment. Since then ITC's Hotels business has grown to occupy a position of leadership, with over 100 owned and managed properties spread across India.
In 1979, ITC entered the Paperboards business by promoting ITC Bhadrachalam Paperboards Limited, which today has become the market leader in India. Bhadrachalam Paperboards amalgamated with the Company effective March 13, 2002 and became a Division of the Company, Bhadrachalam Paperboards Division. In November 2002, this division merged with the Company's Tribeni Tissues Division to form the Paperboards & Specialty Papers Division. ITC's paperboards' technology, productivity, quality and manufacturing processes are comparable to the best in the world. It has also made an immense contribution to the development of Sarapaka, an economically backward area in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is directly involved in education, environmental protection and community development. In 2004, ITC acquired the paperboard manufacturing facility of BILT Industrial Packaging Co. Ltd (BIPCO), near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The Kovai Unit allows ITC to improve customer service with reduced lead time and a wider product range.
In 1985, ITC set up Surya Tobacco Co. in Nepal as an Indo-Nepal and British joint venture. Since inception, its shares have been held by ITC, British American Tobacco and various independent shareholders in Nepal. In August 2002, Surya Tobacco became a subsidiary of ITC Limited and its name was changed to Surya Nepal Private Limited (Surya Nepal).
In 1990, ITC acquired Tribeni Tissues Limited, a Specialty paper manufacturing company and a major supplier of tissue paper to the cigarette industry. The merged entity was named the Tribeni Tissues Division (TTD). To harness strategic and operational synergies, TTD was merged with the Bhadrachalam Paperboards Division to form the Paperboards & Specialty Papers Division in November 2002.
Also in 1990, leveraging its agri-sourcing competency, ITC set up the Agri Business Division for export of agri-commodities. The Division is today one of India's largest exporters. ITC's unique and now widely acknowledged e-Choupal initiative began in 2000 with soya farmers in Madhya Pradesh. Now it extends to 10 states covering over 4 million farmers. ITC's first rural mall, christened 'Choupal Saagar' was inaugurated in August 2004 at Sehore. On the rural retail front, 24 'Choupal Saagars' are now operatonal in the 3 states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
In 2000, ITC forayed into the Greeting, Gifting and Stationery products business with the launch of Expressions range of greeting cards. A line of premium range of notebooks under brand “Paperkraft” was launched in 2002. To augment its offering and to reach a wider student population, the popular range of notebooks was launched under brand “Classmate” in 2003. “Classmate” over the years has grown to become India’s largest notebook brand and has also increased its portfolio to occupy a greater share of the school bag. Years 2007- 2009 saw the launch of Children Books, Slam Books, Geometry Boxes, Pens and Pencils under the “Classmate” brand. In 2008, ITC repositioned the business as the Education and Stationery Products Business and launched India's first environment friendly premium business paper under the “Paperkraft” Brand. “Paperkraft” offers a diverse portfolio in the premium executive stationery and office consumables segment. Paperkraft entered new categories in the office consumable segment with the launch of Textliners, Permanent Ink Markers and White Board Markers in 2009.
ITC also entered the Lifestyle Retailing business with the Wills Sport range of international quality relaxed wear for men and women in 2000. The Wills Lifestyle chain of exclusive stores later expanded its range to include Wills Classic formal wear (2002) and Wills Clublife evening wear (2003). ITC also initiated a foray into the popular segment with its men's wear brand, John Players, in 2002. In 2006, Wills Lifestyle became title partner of the country's most premier fashion event - Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week - that has gained recognition from buyers and retailers as the single largest B-2-B platform for the Fashion Design industry. To mark the occasion, ITC launched a special 'Celebration Series', taking the event forward to consumers. In 2007, the Company introduced 'Miss Players'- a fashion brand in the popular segment for the young woman.
In 2000, ITC spun off its information technology business into a wholly owned subsidiary, ITC Infotech India Limited, to more aggressively pursue emerging opportunities in this area. Today ITC Infotech is one of India’s fastest growing global IT and IT-enabled services companies and has established itself as a key player in offshore outsourcing, providing outsourced IT solutions and services to leading global customers across key focus verticals - Manufacturing, BFSI (Banking, Financial Services & Insurance), CPG&R (Consumer Packaged Goods & Retail), THT (Travel, Hospitality and Transportation) and Media & Entertainment.
ITC's foray into the Foods business is an outstanding example of successfully blending multiple internal competencies to create a new driver of business growth. It began in August 2001 with the introduction of 'Kitchens of India' ready-to-eat Indian gourmet dishes. In 2002, ITC entered the confectionery and staples segments with the launch of the brands mint-o and Candyman confectionery and Aashirvaad atta (wheat flour). 2003 witnessed the introduction of Sunfeast as the Company entered the biscuits segment. ITC's entered the fast growing branded snacks category with Bingo! in 2007. In just seven years, the Foods business has grown to a significant size with over 200 differentiated products under six distinctive brands, with an enviable distribution reach, a rapidly growing market share and a solid market standing.
In 2002, ITC's philosophy of contributing to enhancing the competitiveness of the entire value chain found yet another expression in the Safety Matches initiative. ITC now markets popular safety matches brands like iKno, Mangaldeep, Aim, Aim Mega and Aim Metro.
ITC's foray into the marketing of Agarbattis (incense sticks) in 2003 marked the manifestation of its partnership with the cottage sector. ITC's popular agarbattis brands include Spriha and Mangaldeep across a range of fragrances like Rose, Jasmine, Bouquet, Sandalwood, Madhur, Sambrani and Nagchampa.
ITC introduced Essenza Di Wills, an exclusive range of fine fragrances and bath & body care products for men and women in July 2005. Inizio, the signature range under Essenza Di Wills provides a comprehensive grooming regimen with distinct lines for men (Inizio Homme) and women (Inizio Femme). Continuing with its tradition of bringing world class products to Indian consumers the Company launched 'Fiama Di Wills', a premium range of Shampoos, Shower Gels and Soaps in September, October and December 2007 respectively. The Company also launched the 'Superia' range of Soaps and Shampoos in the mass-market segment at select markets in October 2007 and Vivel De Wills & Vivel range of soaps in February and Vivel range of shampoos in June 2008.
Business area of the company includes:
Education & Stationery Safety Matches Agarbattis Hotels Paperboards & Packaging
Specialty Papers Packaging Agri-BusinessesAgri Commodities e-Choupal Leaf Tobacco Information Technology