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STC aims at Rs 10,000-cr turnover

G. Srinivasan

Dr Arvind Pandalai, CMD

New Delhi , April 23

BUOYED up by the `excellent' physical results posted in the just-ended fiscal, the State Trading Corporation (STC) had drawn up plans to cross Rs 10,000-crore sales turnover during the current fiscal, the Chairman and Managing Director, Dr Arvind Pandalai, said on Friday.

Talking to Business Line here soon after the board meeting to take note of the last quarter results of 2003-04 fiscal and also the consolidated performance, Dr Pandalai said that "for the first time in the history of STC that we have posted a turnover of Rs 8,194 crore in 2003-04 against Rs 2,534 crore in 2002-03 and the memorandum of understanding target of Rs 2,500 crore ".

He said overall the corporation had compassed an increase in turnover of 252 per cent in 2003-04 and "we will be having a profit of Rs 25 crore".

Through various measures taken in other areas as also some of the new initiatives put in place, STC has been able to achieve this "excellent result and this will be for the first time since STC had signed MoU with the Government in 1988-89 we would be getting an excellent rating from the government".

He said, "When disinvestment is hanging over the head, the tendency is not to do anything, but we are not worried but focussing on core trading activity" to enhance value to the company utilising the existing manpower efficiently to enter new areas.

Stating that STC has analysed its various product portfolios, he said, "Accordingly we had grouped products into various categories and in the same group if some items go down, some others could compensate to make the group results pull up the growth rate'. The groups include hydrocarbons, fertilisers, bullion and non-ferrous metals.

Against the MoU target of Rs 6,750 crore for 2004-05, the company would be "adding new initiatives and strategies to put into effect and we don't want our competitors to get any details of these fresh moves unless we formalise our position and put the system in place and tie up all loose ends which would definitely be divulged by the end of the first quarter of the current fiscal".

Asked whether the corporation has any plans to procure grains directly from the mandis for trading, Dr Pandalai said, "Whenever there is any opportunity to buy in the market we have done the purchases without waiting for the grain export policy. There are certain advantages if you buy in Uttar Pradesh to export to Bangladesh as we have been doing".

"Currently international wheat prices have come down and we may not be quite competitive in this but in other agro-products like maize, tremendous opportunities exist.''

He said that ever since he assumed office, "We had started a system of finalising our strengths and weaknesses ourselves so as to map out operating level targets taking due advantages of capabilities in core areas of trading". Though he was reluctant to disclose the new areas of activities where the corporation would be moving in, Dr Pandalai hinted at fast-moving consumer goods imports and distribution as an area where opportunities abound. Here "we have done a little ground work' he added.

He also stated that STC would be undertaking user-industry service-trading, "leveraging our capacity" in bulk import and export of items not only for mass consumption but also for specific requirements.

Alongside, the corporation would be reviving its brand image of products like STC edible oils that used to be marketed in the past. STC would like to be `one-shop' trading hub through customer-based service centres in which a customer could procure 20 different items being traded by it without any hassle, as there would be `flexi' group exclusively catering to the demands of such discerning consumers.

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