MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Macro-economic overview: 2015-16 has been a challenging year
Despite an estimated 7.6% GDP growth, the fiscal 2015-16 was a challenge. The economy has been sluggish from a consumer sentiment point of view. Industrial growth showed a slow and steady recovery during the year with the Corporate India (non-Financial sector comprising 2518 Companies) registering a double digit profit growth though the top line declined.
With respect to the consumer goods, the retail industry in the lifestyle space grew in double digits, while the automobile industry registered a single digit growth. The steady growth in passenger car sales shows the turnaround of the sentiments of the consumer and augers well for the year ahead. The improvement in sales growth in commercial vehicles and tractors during the course of the year indicates the positive sentiment in rural India, which in turn would result in growth of consumer goods in the coming year.
Gold prices have been volatile over the last 15 months. The rate remained debrssed in the calendar year 2015, and for the first time in several years, it declined over the first 7-8 months and that kept many consumers away, brsumably waiting for it to bottom out. Post December, the rate has seen a smart recovery and has started to come close to Rs. 3,000/ gm in the month of May 2016. On the brighter side, consumer price inflation has been largely controlled at 5-6%, which augurs well for the future.
The US Dollar has risen about 10% from Rs. 63 (Jan 1, 2015) peaked at a Rs. 68/69 level before settling down to Rs. 67 levels. Most emerging market currencies have debrciated significantly more than the rupee with respect to the dollar, putting brssure on India's exports, impacting trade deficit. However, the Indian government's desire to significantly increase infrastructure spend and the Pay Commission payouts to government employees are expected to have a positive impact. Volatility in global economy and stress in the Indian banking sector may continue to have an adverse impact on economic recovery.
KEY CONSUMER TRENDS MIXED CONSUMER SENTIMENT
Consumer sentiment measured as consumer confidence in the future remains at a global high of 130 points as measured by a consumer research firm. However, this has not translated into a demand surge. As per another source, the consumer sentiment index has been on a downward trend, perhaps more reflective of the consumer spending habit in India.
Our product categories have seen differential demand trends across town classes. Metros, mini metros and tier I towns have seen better demand growths. Rural demand has been weak, mirrored by double digit declines for fertilizers, tractors etc., due to two consecutive weak monsoons, impacting sales across smaller towns and upcountry markets. Post Diwali, some improvement in demand from upcountry markets was seen, on the back of festive and wedding season spends.
Disruptive discounting and high decibel advertising by e-commerce marketplaces has attracted consumers to buy products online. Simultaneously, the increasing penetration of smart phones combined with poor infrastructure in semi-urban and rural areas has encouraged consumers to go online for information, experience and purchase. This influences consumers to wait for deals and encourages continuous on-line 'snacking behaviour', the buying of many smaller items by consumers driven by year long online stimulus. Our hypothesis is that this eats into share of wallet and consequently they defer higher value purchases (like Jewellery).
Luxury brands continue to allure Indians and growth of luxury watch retailers is healthy. However the PAN card rule has caused considerable dampening of sentiment in consumers and uncertainty in retailers effective January 2016.
Premiumization trends continue to be seen across all our categories and more so in watches, with much larger growth rates seen in higher price bands and in brmium retail formats.
There is continued growing digital influence on consumers, online -offline behaviour is increasingly visible. Tier 3/4 cities are expected to be big contributors to on-line through e/m-commerce driven by penetration.
WATCHES & ACCESSORIES
It was an eventful year for the Watches and Accessories business with the environment remaining challenging for a third consecutive year. The demand in the category was sluggish as consumer sentiment remained weak for most part of the year. A poor monsoon season also aggravated the situation with demand slowing down even in the tier II towns. Demand in other consumer categories like mobile phones remained better than watches. In such a scenario, the watches business registered almost a flat growth of 1.7% over the year 2014-15. All retail channels remained flat barring Helios, our brmium multi-brand chain, which registered a double digit growth.
The Year 2015-16
One of the highlights in this challenging year was the introduction of Titan's first Smart Watch. We entered this category with the launch of Titan JUXT. This was created in collaboration with HP Inc., USA. Titan JUXT helped create both internal and external buzz for the brand across the country and also outside India with leading technology blogs like Engadget and Wearable featuring the product in their reviews. The initial response has been very encouraging and this launch brsents a new growth opportunity in the years to come. It was not only Titan JUXT that created excitement in the category but a wide range of differentiated products that were launched during the year like Raga Moonlight Collection, Titan Regal Crest, Sonata Shagun watch, Sonata Rahu Kaal Watch, Fastrack Tribe and Animal Instinct collections. All these helped the Division in generating spurts of demand in an otherwise slow market. During the year we also launched SF, the next big Sports watch brand from the house of Titan. This was done with the help of a new range of feature rich products and a full-fledged advertising campaign reflecting the core values of the brand. During the year SF launched a number of watches rich with features like 200 meters water resistance, pedometer and slide touch screen to name a few.
In terms of advertising and communication, the business made significant investments in its brands and product launches throughout the year.
The watch industry this year witnessed emergence of new players like Apple, Samsung and Motorola to name a few with the launch of their respective smart watches. Many international watch brands also launched their smart watches giving a new dimension to the watch category. This has also helped create fresh interest in the category of watches and we look forward to making a significant impact in the years to come with our range of smart products.
Swiss watch brands at the luxury end have been struggling to grow sales in India thanks to revaluation resulting in apbrciation of the Swiss Franc and the introduction of the PAN card rule in India.
The e-commerce channel continued its path of fast growth and strengthened its brsence through disruptive offers and 'tempting discounts'. Many brands have adopted this channel for launching new products especially in mobile phones and wearables. Exclusive tie-ups and significant advertising have given many new brands instant awareness and sales. But their large turnover is still driven by discounting, disrupting the marketplace.
While on expansion it was a year of consolidation for all our retail formats, a facelift for World of Titan stores has led to disproportionate retail growth. The network was expanded by 17 new World of Titan stores, 6 Fastrack stores and 2 Helios stores across the country. Over 500 new multi-brand outlets were added across all brands. In addition, investments were made in upgradation of multi-brand outlets. The focus on expansion and upgradation will continue in the coming year.
The in-house watches Design Studio added technology innovation as an extension of the studio, to enable greater integration between our core strength of product design and new age technology. The Titan JUXT was the first outcome of this merger. In the days to come many more innovative products will be launched apart from the other differentiated products that are created there.
In manufacturing, we have made focused effort to work differently on "Make in India". Our focus was to reduce imports both by enhancing in-house capability and development of Indian vendors. This will help us to attain total cost reduction, in-house capacity absorption and hedge against currency fluctuations. We commenced commercial production in the Stainless Steel Case Plant at Coimbatore with high end cases being produced thereby resulting in a significant savings in forex and variable costs.
The watch manufacturing facility at Hosur has taken on the objective of becoming 'Green' in all its manufacturing operations. This initiative of Green Manufacturing has brdominantly focused on key areas like, a) Energy Conservation b) Fuel Conservation c) Substitution of energy requirements in manufacturing through renewable energy sources like wind power and solar power. This has resulted in reduction of specific energy consumption by almost 50% in terms of units consumed per watch.
Our International Business for Watches registered a double digit growth despite several challenges in Middle East, which remained volatile and South East Asia, which had economic and currency fluctuations. The business sustained its targeted investments in retail and brand building in key, large markets. Vietnam, UAE and Malaysia have seen brand scores enhanced along with business growth. As per market intelligence, while several International brands witnessed retail decline, Titan brands managed to grow and gain market share. There was a visible shift to digital, new age media and e-commerce along with greater thrust on Fastrack and Sonata introduction. Indonesia, Nigeria, Philippines and SAARC markets have shown promising results as future markets with potential.
Opportunities, threats and risks
While Titan continues to maintain a high market share in the organized watch market in India, competition in the form of international watch and Fashion brands, smart watches and new and interesting wearables and devices is getting stronger and the need to make larger investments in new designs, wearable technology, partnerships and newer avenues of distribution have become more relevant. There is an opportunity for all our brands to introduce technology watches to garner a significant share in one of the fastest growing segments today. This segment is going to see exponential growth in the years to come and we plan to make significant investments in product technology aimed at making watches more interesting than they are today.
Favre Leuba, the heritage Swiss brand that the company acquired is being actively worked on for a launch towards the end of FY 2017. The product, marketing and distribution strategy is being worked upon by a newly constituted team largely from the Swiss watch industry.
It is increasingly apparent that the watch category has significantly transformed over the past two decades from being a "must have" time keeping device to a "nice to have" accessory and smart wrist device. Consequently, with greater opportunity in higher price points and technology products, our manufacturing base that is geared for high volume, needs transformation and this is being undertaken through cost combrssion and contract manufacturing.
The performance of the Jewellery Division in the last 3 years needs to be seen in the context of several market and regulatory events that have impacted the Jewellery industry in India. Multiple structural factors have played out inside and around the industry, having a lasting impact on supply and demand. These are:
1. The introduction of the 80/20 rule for the gold imports, the abolition of the Gold-On-Lease scheme and the subsequent reversal of both
2. The increasing of customs duty to 10%
3. The circumscribing of the jewellery purchase schemes to 25% of company net worth and the capping of interest rate to 12%
4. The lowering of the PAN card limit for purchases to Rs. 2 lakhs, as opposed the Rs. 5 lakhs limit that had brvailed since 2011
5. The introduction of excise duty
1. The secular fall in the price of gold, thus eliminating the significant beneficial tail wind effect on sales and margin growth
1. Pressures on discretionary incomes de-prioritizing jewellery, especially diamond jewellery
2. Increasing competition for share of wallet from other hi-ticket personal products like smart phones, luxury bags and footwear
1. Regional chains becoming national in their ambition, state-level chains becoming regional. Significant investments in stores, inventory and brand building
2. Pressures on growth forcing prices downward, exacerbating the margin situation in the industry
In response to the slow-down in jewellery consumption triggered by these factors, we chose for our flagship brand Tanishq to pursue growth in brference to margin and return on capital and embark on 5 long-term initiatives:
i. Corrections in the making charges of gold jewellery, virtually across the board, increasing the Value-For-Money equation of Tanishq and supported by a very effective marketing communications campaign in FY16
a. Brand consideration metrics surge, new customer share increases, price as a reason for non-purchase virtually disappears
ii. Increasing the relevance of the wedding range for multiple communities, correcting trousseau pricing and very effectively communicating these 2 aspects, starting in the second half of the year
iii. Increasing the product development and inventory in the high value (> Rs. 2 lakhs) diamond jewellery category and betting on the affluence of the customer segment and our very low share of category
iv. Introduction and impactful launches of multiple jewellery collections, both market-following ("gaps and refreshers") and customer-leading ("innovations") to increase desire for Tanishq jewellery and give the women compelling reasons to visit the stores
v. An ambitious network expansion programme, particularly targeting middle India
The results of all these on sales growth (customer, grammage, value) were very visible in Q3 of FY16 and were dampened in Q4 on account of the inevitable early consequences of the PAN card rule effective 1st January 2016 and the crippling industry strike in much of March 2016.
However, the strategic import of these 5 pillars is relevant for at least another 5 years and the Division plans to stay with these accordingly. The Division also believes that the worst has been played out on the regulatory and competitive fronts and the growth trajectory for Tanishq will come back in FY17, aided also substantially by the Golden Harvest jewellery purchase scheme that is now fully back in place. In addition, our sub-brand Mia and the imminent acquisition of online jwellery brand Caratlane will add new customer segment such as working women and youth.
The second big brand of the Division, Gold Plus, has been affected more significantly on account of a higher dependence on the smalltown middle class customer and the much more aggressive South Indian jewellery chains. Work is under way to bring the brand on track for acceptable levels of EBIT and ROCE in the next 4 years.
The share of Gold Plus to the Division is under 10% (and will be maintained like that) and thus its dilution of the Division's EBIT and ROCE is minimal.
Integrated Supply Chain
The Division is far and away the leader among all jewellery retailers in India when it comes to manufacturing and out-sourcing. The Division continues to invest significantly in this competitive advantage. The highlights of the last few years in that area are:
1. A significant investment in the Pant Nagar diamond jewellery plant, in resources and capability building, to make it a world-class operation. It is well on the way to becoming that and has also helped the Company substantially in getting IT benefits
2. Investment in chain manufacturing and CNC machining centres to offer high-quality products that very few in the industry can compete with
3. An overall upgradation of the Hosur plant covering refining and alloying and general modernization
4. Significant upgradations of gold jewellery vendor units in technology, systems, processes and karigar amenities
5. Implementation of the TOC (Theory of Constraints) principles in own plants and vendor units for maximizing delivery and minimizing inventory
With all these key improvements in customer acquisition and supply chain processes, the Division's team is quite confident of getting back to attractive sales growth and financial performance levels in FY17 and staying with them for the next 5 years.
Industry Structure And Developments
The market size is estimated at around Rs. 5,000 crores, of which Rs.1,500 crores is estimated to be sunglasses. The market is estimated to be growing at 12-15% CAGR by value, largely driven by new entrants. The large national players have not expanded aggressively while some of the regional players have expanded. At the local level, neighbourhood stores have witnessed a mushrooming of many new players and it is estimated that more than 5,000 stores have been added across the country over the last 5 years. This is a clear indication of the potential that exists in the industry.
Over the last eight years, Titan Eyeplus has rapidly scaled up its operations and at the end of FY 16 had 2.6 lakh sq. feet of retail space, a CAGR growth in excess of 25%, a customer base of 5 million and a state-of-the-art lens manufacturing facility in Bangalore.
Key developments during 2015-16 were as follows:
• Over 70 new stores were opened during the year taking the total store count to 402. The brand is now brsent across 161 towns across the country
• Despite a slowdown in retail, the overall business grew at 12% over the brvious year
• A new retail identity was introduced during the year and many existing stores were renovated to take on the new identity. Progressively, all stores will be converted to carry the new retail identity
• A number of new products (over 300) were introduced during the year and have been very well received in the market. The Titan Eyeplus stores carry the newest styles seen across the world both under its house brands as well as the many international brands available in-store
• Optometry continued to be a key focus area and training and re-training of Optometrists to deliver error free eye testing was imparted during the year
• In sunglasses, Fastrack and Titan Glares continued to do well with Fastrack sunglasses selling over 1.10 million pieces during the year
• The first of the satellite lens labs for manufacture of lenses was established in the East region to ensure better delivery time-lines to customers. During the current year, two more of such satellite lens labs will be established, one in the North and one in the West
• The "Make Hearts Beat" programme, an initiative to make customer delight a way of life, received accolades at the national level
• The lens manufacturing facility at Chikballapur near Bangalore continued to set new benchmarks in quality and first time acceptance
Opportunities and Threats
While the business has developed a number of strengths over its short lifespan, notably, the Titan/Tata name, trust and transparency in the category, high brand awareness, in-house manufacture of high quality lenses, high quality eye testing, differentiated customer experience, wide range of styles, market leader etc., there are a number of opportunities that exist to grow the business further.
The notable opportunities to address in the immediate future will be e-commerce/omni channel play, expansion in middle India, entering International markets, addressing senior citizens, frame manufacturing, crafting a brand personality, digital marketing, design being a differentiator and satellite lens laboratories for quicker delivery.
Threats to the business come from its high dependence currently on outsourcing, disruptive pricing on e-commerce, fake frames and lenses and large amounts being spent in recent times by competitors on advertising.
Risks and Concerns
In the recent past, the entry of e-commerce players with their disruptive pricing and large spends on advertising will be a threat in the near term. With many optical outlets, both at the national and at the regional level having upgraded and brmiumised their stores, consumer expectations in the category will only increase further.
brCISION ENGINEERING DIVISION
Industry Structure and Developments
The brcision engineering business comprised the following businesses:
Precision Engineering Component and Sub-Assemblies (PECSA): PECSA caters to the specialised requirements of the aerospace, defence, oil and gas and engineering sectors. It supplies parts to leading tier-I aerospace & defence companies through long-term contracts. PECSA is becoming a default choice of large multi- national companies in the aerospace and defense sector for brcision components & assemblies. The business enjoys nearly 750 customer qualified parts that strengthens the future prospects. Moreover a number of companies, global market leaders in the aerospace industry have grown their business with the Division and are looking at strengthening the relationship. UTC group, a US $ 56 billion conglomerate is the largest customer for PECSA in the aerospace segment.
Machine Building and Automation (MBA): MBA caters to the assembly line automation needs of automotive, electrical and medical industries. Ten more new customers were acquired during the year totalling around 85 customers. Global installations foot print keeps increasing for its ability to meet international standards. The year is challenging in terms of growth and profits and declined due to delayed order receipts from customers. The automotive industry is yet to recover in terms of capital investments due to under-utilised capacities.
LITIES AND THREATS
The order position in the last quarter is encouraging. The carry forward order position is 50% higher than the last year for the same period. Export enquiries are picking up and we would be able to compete with global competitors due to declined rupee value. The global competitor's activities are significantly higher than last two years. A new direction is being set for the business to identify a niche area or an innovative product (a standard machine platform) for a sustainable business in the coming years. The operating cost reduction will be another focus area for maintaining the healthiness of the business.
Aerospace industry is growing well and there are plenty of opportunities to grow the business from existing customers itself, especially UTAS. We have made a deeper engagement with UTAS senior management team and exploring an opportunity for supplying a complete product rather delivering only machined parts. Global opportunities and enquiries are in increasing trend. The domestic requirement especially from HAL has significantly gone up.
RISKS AND CONCERNS
The automation business is largely dependent on some of the major projects by customers. Though the order position to start the year 2016-17 is encouraging, any delay by customers in the first three months may cause revenue loss for the year.
The automation business having established a reputation for delivering high quality solutions is an attractive hunting ground for talent amongst competitors. The aerospace domain is highly dependent on a few customers and any change in their global fortunes affects the domain directly.
Over the last 10 years, Precision Engineering Division has built substantial design and engineering capability while growing the business profitably. The Precision Engineering Division expects to grow significantly as this is a global business with large B2B opportunity. However, this business is capital intensive and strategic associations which can facilitate technology development may be necessary for business development. With this objective in mind, the Company has now created a 100% subsidiary company called Titan Engineering and Automation Limited (TEAL). After capitalising this subsidiary adequately, the Precision Engineering Division's assets and business are proposed to be transferred to this wholly owned subsidiary. Additional capital for this company will be raised when needed through appropriate funding.
INTEGRATED RETAIL SERVICES GROUP
The year witnessed aggressive expansion of the Company's retail network with a net addition of 82 stores. As on 31st March 2016, the Company had 1283 stores, with over 1.7 million square feet of retail space delivering a retail turnover of Rs. 1 1,295 crores.
INTERNAL CONTROL SYSTEMS AND THEIR ADEQUACY
The Company has an internal audit department for reviewing the internal control systems. The department is headed by a Chartered Accountant who oversees a team comprising currently of 5 members. The Head - Internal Audit reports to the Audit Committee and issues reports on monthly and/or quarterly basis on audit plans and audit findings. Besides the internal team, the Company is also utilizing the services of an external team from a globally reputed audit firm to conduct internal audits in various areas throughout the year. The Board Audit Committee reviews the effectiveness of the internal audit function periodically at its Committee meetings.
The composition of the Board Audit Committee is disclosed in the Corporate Governance Report which forms a part of the Annual Report. The internal audit function also reviews the Corporate Risk Assessment exercises and the Risk Register on a yearly basis. The Company intends to appoint a Head of Risk Management who will oversee and coordinate the Company's risk management function.
A compliance team in the Legal & Secretarial department ensures, amongst others, that there are adequate systems and processes in the Company commensurate with the size and operations to monitor and ensure compliance with applicable laws, rules, regulations and guidelines. The Human Resources department carries out a similar exercise for ensuring compliance with all relevant labour legislations.
Based on the foregoing, the Board of Directors, after making all reasonable enquiries and to the best of its knowledge and belief, with the concurrence of the Board Audit Committee, is of the opinion that the internal controls of the Company are adequate to address the financial, operational and compliance risks of the Company.
Digital means many things and is applicable to many elements across the entire value chain of an organisation. In our case we have chosen to start by transforming the Customer Experience (Cx). The initial objective of our digital strategy therefore is to provide a consistent, high quality Cx leveraging technology in the following three areas: Online Presence, Analytics & Customer Relationship Management.
1] Online Presence: Information available from developed market as well as recent research from several agencies indicates that by 2020, e-commerce will account for 20%-35% sales & 50% of consumers will be digitally influenced. Anticipating this, we have defined our online brsence to include both e-commerce and 'Digital Influence'. While the share of e-tailing will continue to increase around the world and in India too, offline sales is expected to retain the lion's share (around 60-75%) of overall commerce. Here it is vital to recognize that even in offline sales, discovery of products by consumers is increasingly (60-70%) being made online.
Our strategy is to have brand websites showcasing the brands, tightly integrated to an e-commerce website and platform. The brand sites build 'Digital Influence' giving brands freedom of exbrssion while allowing them to leverage the benefits and scale of shared infrastructure and a common e-commerce platform. The online brsence described above will also be integrated into our 1,200 offline stores using large and small touchscreen devices placed in stores.
2] Analytics: The strategy for analytics is to make data driven insights an integral way of life in Titan. The objective is to build a culture of agile data driven decision making with analytics expected to be the thread that brings the overall digital strategy to life.
3] Customer Relationship Management (CRM): CRM aims to sell multiple products to customers acquired via any one brand or product. Focused building of customers profiles combined with analytics can develop sophisticated ways of targeting customers with personalized marketing. One objective is better conversion of the approximately 1 million visitors per month to our websites. The second objective is to farm better, using the CRM to increase the Average Products per Customer and to deepen Wallet Share amongst the loyalty programme base.
To summarize, the digital strategy may simply be exbrssed as follows:
1. To create an "Online" customer experience that complements and enhances the superlative "offline" experience offered by Titan.
2. To be able to "personalize" the customer experience and relationship management to the highest degree possible.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT)
Titan continues to leverage IT for enhancing its Decision Support System and the efficiency of its business processes. Business Analytics and Automation of Business workflows have been given a major thrust by investing in people and state-of-the-art technologies. Titan has been on the forefront when it comes to adopting emerging technologies for its captive data centres. We have been early adopters in the area of virtualisation and high performance storage that have ensured reliability, high availability and enhanced system response for its users.
Mobility and Cloud technologies are increasingly gaining ground. We have embraced emerging technologies from Microsoft and Google (for office automation, collaboration and knowledge management), Success Factors for Human Resource Management, Sales Force.com for Customer Relationship Managment (B2B) and Amazon Web Services for hosting our e-commerce and brand websites. Investments in Content Delivery Network (CDN) for our e-commerce website has enhanced the user experience. The Golden Harvest Scheme that is now on the cloud has received a very positive response from the customers for its reach and convenience. In order to address Gen Y trends and expectations we have developed multiple mobile based applications for billing and capturing customer feedback and employee facing processes.
In order to give impetus to Information Security (IS), a dedicated Information Security team continues to review Information Security Policies, deploy tools and processes for enhancing information security levels.
Titan has been conferred with "Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise" award for the second consecutive year in Asia.
Exploring emerging technologies for enhancing customer experience will take priority in the near term.
The Company had 7,859 employees on rolls of which 2,012 were women as on 31st March 2016. In addition, we had about 6,161 on contractual rolls at the end of the year 2015-16. We recruited 866 new employees, with a net addition of 285 employees during the year. Of the total head-count of 7,859, 3,613 employees were engaged in factories, 3,614 in retail, sales and marketing and 632 in support functions. The Company also had an attrition of 581 employees which resulted in an attrition rate of 7.4%.
The Human Resources Department facilitated and led interventions that reinforce the Company's longstanding commitment towards developing people. We sustained and refined organizational interventions and processes in the areas of talent management, performance and potential appraisals, learning and development initiatives for employees at every level.
This year we have brought in special focus on the aspects of succession planning and leadership development. We have launched programmes for developing leadership at junior and mid-management levels.
By leveraging technology platforms and making processes more transparent, we attempted to improve the manner in which employees experience the organization. New and/or improved online platforms were introduced for rewards and recognition, performance management and recruitment among others. In addition, we continued to recognize our employees through mechanisms such as Moment of Fame and Imbrssions (for retail employees and associates). The Outstanding Titanian and Dream Team (OTDT) awards as always were the high point of the year.
Our approach towards remuneration continued to ensure that our employees and their families enjoy a respectable standard of living, while also serving to enhance and reward productivity. We derive inputs for employee remuneration from individual, team and Company performance as well as internal and external parity. The Management continued to enjoy cordial industrial relations with the Titan Employees Union, resulting in motivation, efficiency and productivity. Our employees have continued to participate enthusiastically in various programmes such as small group activities, cross functional teams, safety forums and volunteering efforts.
Statements in the Management Discussion and Analysis describing the Company's objectives, projections, estimates and expectations may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities, laws and regulations. Actual results could differ materially from those exbrssed or implied. Important factors that could make a difference to the Company's operations include, among others, economic conditions affecting demand/supply and price conditions in the domestic and overseas markets in which it operates, changes in the Government regulations, tax laws and other statutes and incidental factors.