ITC's hotel business expansion and diversification into lifestyle retailing and greeting cards are estimated to add Rs 2,000 crore to the topline by 2006. The chain of Wills Sport stores is expected to contribute to the topline surge.
ITC had invested Rs 1,800 crore in the past five years, but, while past investment has been heavily biased towards the cigarette business, the proposed Rs 2,500 crore investment in the next five years will be dominated by investments in non-tobacco businesses.
A focus on the rural sector will be another feature of ITC's investment plan. Not all the investments would be in the urban sector, in view of the need to build on strengths in the rural sector.
A crucial aspect of ITC's e-initiative under its e-choupal banner has been the chain of Internet kiosks set up in the countryside to be the FMCG transaction backbone for other products aimed at the rural population.
A pilot project to sell LPG cylinders using the network has been initiated. Already 235 e-choupal kiosks covering 1,000 villages and 1.2 lakh farmers have been set up. By 2003, ITC would set up 3,000 kiosks covering 1.5 million farmers.
The network would help company and farmer alike. ITC's agri-products business division has emerged as the first-choice supplier of customers like Coca-Cola, Abudhabi Feed Mill and Mitsubishi, who source agriculture commodities and food products from India.
The website for this business, www.itcibd.com, was focussed on customer care in the commodity trading business. Customers can access information on crop production and forecasts, market updates, the latest shipment positions and the prevailing foreign exchange rates.