Localised lockdowns are negatively impacting the pace of recovery for the company amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, said diversified business entity ITC Limited's Chairman Sanjiv Puri. The near-term outlook remains uncertain even as progressive normalisation could be seen in segments barring hotels, education, and stationery products, Puri also said while addressing the company's shareholders at the annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday. Many states across the country are observing coronavirus lockdowns during the weekend for some time now.
"The near-term outlook remains uncertain as consumer trends and industry dynamics constantly evolve in the backdrop of the yet unfolding impact of the pandemic and shape of economic recovery," the chairman also said.
Coronavirus pandemic has also taken a toll on ITC's cigarette business which accounts for its 40 per cent revenue. Puri told shareholders that even as the segment showed signs of improvement since June, distribution saw some impact in the months of July and August.
Amid the ongoing pandemic, the company would respond with agility to strengthen its market position and also focus on cost-reduction measures, Puri told shareholders.
Adding, Puri said ITC has accelerated digital transformation under the company's future-ready strategy to enhance competitive advantage and operational effectiveness. The current pandemic has accelerated manifold the transition to digitalisation that was already moving at high velocity and the company is adopting new-age technologies to stay ahead of the curve, Puri also said.
New technologies such as Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning are being deployed by all businesses, including supply chain and logistics to enhance operational effectiveness, Puri said.
Shares of ITC on Friday closed at Rs 186.70, down by 2.56 per cent as against the previous close.