|ITC Ltd is one of India`s foremost private sector companies. The company 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 Business World and among India`s Most Valuable Companies by Business Today. The company 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.
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. ITC`s production facilities and hotels have won numerous national and international awards for quality, productivity, safety and environment management systems. ITC was the first company in India to voluntarily seek a corporate governance rating.
ITC was incorporated on August 24, 1910 under the name Imperial Tobacco Company of India Ltd. As the company`s ownership progressively Indianised, the name of the company was changed from Imperial Tobacco Company of India Ltd to India Tobacco Company Ltd in the year 1970 and then to I.T.C. Ltd in the year 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-business, Foods, Lifestyle Retailing, Education & Stationery and Personal Care - the full stops in the company`s name were removed effective September 18, 2001. The company now stands rechristened ITC Ltd.
During the year 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. In the year 1925, the company set up Packaging & Printing business as a strategic backward integration for ITC`s Cigarettes business. It is today India`s most sophisticated packaging house.
In the year 1975, the company launched its Hotels business with the acquisition of a hotel in Chennai which was rechristened "ITC-Welcomgroup Hotel Chola". In the year 1979, they entered the Paperboards business by promoting ITC Bhadrachalam Paperboards Ltd, which today has become the market leader in India.
In the year 1985, the company set up Surya Tobacco Co. in Nepal as an Indo-Nepal and British joint venture. In the year 1990, the company acquired Tribeni Tissues Ltd, 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). In the year 1990, the company set up the Agri Business Division for export of agri-commodities. Today, the Division is one of India`s largest exporters.
In the year 2000, the company spun off its information technology business into a wholly owned subsidiary, ITC Infotech India Ltd, to more aggressively pursue emerging opportunities in this area. Also, the company 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 the year 2003.
The company also entered the Lifestyle Retailing business with the Wills Sport range of international quality relaxed wear for men and women in the year 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.
The company forayed into the Foods business 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, the company entered the confectionery and staples segments with the launch of the brands mint-o and Candyman confectionery and Aashirvaad atta (wheat flour). Also, the company`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.
Bhadrachalam Paperboards Ltd 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. In August 2002, Surya Tobacco became a subsidiary of ITC Ltd and its name was changed to Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd (Surya Nepal).
In the year 2003, the company entered the biscuits segment with the introduction of Sunfeast. Also, the company forayed into the marketing of Agarbattis (incense sticks) in partnership with the cottage sector. The company`s popular agarbattis brands include Spriha and Mangaldeep across a range of fragrances like Rose, Jasmine, Bouquet, Sandalwood, Madhur, Sambrani and Nagchampa. In the year 2004, the company acquired the paperboard manufacturing facility of BILT Industrial Packaging Co Ltd (BIPCO), near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
In July 2005, the company introduced Essenza Di Wills, an exclusive range of fine fragrances and bath & body care products for men and women. Inizio, the signature range under Essenza Di Wills provides a comprehensive grooming regimen with distinct lines for men (Inizio Homme) and women (Inizio Femme). In the year 2007, the company entered the fast growing branded snacks category with "Bingo!".
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.
In the year 2008, the company 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 entered new categories in the office consumable segment with the launch of Textliners, Permanent Ink Markers and White Board Markers in 2009.
During the year 2009-10, the company launched new variants of "Gold Flake" and "Navy Cut Filter Kings" with innovative product features, limited edition packs of "Classic" and launch of new brands like "Flake Excel Filter" and "Duke Filter". The company also launched its premium line of hand-rolled cigars in select markets under the brand name "Armenteros".
During the year, the company launched "mint-o GOL" in the "chews" category. In the Agarbattis, the company launched a new variant, "Fragrance of Temple", in Tamil Nadu, under the "Mangaldeep" brand, which delivers temple aroma. In the personal care segment, the company launched "Fiama Di Wills" Gel Bathing Bar. Also, they strengthened the brand "Vivel" with the launch of the "Milk Cream & Glycerine" bathing bar in the winter care segment, and "Deo Spirit" in the freshness segment.
In October 2009, the company launched the ITC Royal Gardenia, a 292 room luxury offering in Bengaluru. It is the largest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum rated hotel in the world and the first in Asia to achieve this distinction.
During the year 2010-11, the new cigarette factory set up at Ranjangaon scaled up operations to full capacity. The company opened "Wills Lifestyle", its first Men`s luxury store in Chennai offering a comprehensive "Formals" collection of shirts, trousers, suits & jackets and accessories aimed at the premium business consumer. They launched "Sunfeast Yippee!" noodles in the fast growing "instant noodles" category in two exciting flavours.
During the year, the company entered into a joint venture towards developing a luxury hotel complex at Begumpet, Hyderabad. Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, the company acquired 26% equity stake in the joint venture company, Espirit Hotels Pvt Ltd (EHPL) and will, inter-alia, provide hotel management services to EHPL under an Operating Services Agreement upon commissioning of the hotel.
In September 2011, the acquired the entire shareholding of Russell Credit Ltd (wholly owned subsidiary of the company) in Wimco Ltd (Wimco). Consequently, Wimco became a direct subsidiary of the company with effect from September 29, 2011.
Today, the company is the leading FMCG marketer in India, the second largest Hotel chain, the clear market leader in the Indian Paperboard and Packaging industry and the country`s foremost Agri business player. Additionally, the company`s wholly owned subsidiary, ITC Infotech India Ltd, is one of India`s fast growing Information Technology companies in the mid-tier segment.|