Aditya Birla Group reassesses biz models in Covid-19 times

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 10, 2020 Published on August 10, 2020

Identifies strategic, tactical opportunities; aims at improving effectiveness, pruning costs, preparing for new normal

The Aditya Birla Group has reassessed business models over the last few months in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic to identify strategic and tactical opportunities, according to Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman.

This is to improve effectiveness, prune avoidable costs as well as to prepare for the new normal.

In this regard, Birla cited the examples of Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail making an emphatic foray into masks, the group’s chemicals business producing disinfectants, and the fibre business manufacturing anti-bacterial fibre.

“The pandemic has also accelerated our shift to digitalisation across businesses.

“A new wave of digital energy is being unleashed with a clear focus on getting closer to our customers,” Birla said in his letter to the shareholders of Aditya Birla Capital Ltd (ABCL). He is Chairman and Non-Executive Director of ABCL.

Birla emphasised that the financial services sector is pivotal to the India growth story as well as the Group’s overall strategy.

Going forward, ABCL will focus on leveraging synergies of a unified financial services platform and the Aditya Birla Group, to reach out to more customers and increase penetration of its financial services solutions, he added.

Birla observed that: “Never has the transition between two financial years been as tumultuous for the global economy. The pandemic is, no doubt, a sobering reminder of how the world can change in unforeseeable ways.”

As per ABCL’s annual report, the company’s consolidated revenue grew 9 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to ₹18,028 crore in FY20. The consolidated profit after tax (after minority interest) reflected a growth of 6 per cent y-o-y to ₹920 crore.

Ajay Srinivasan, Chief Executive, underscored that ABCL’s continued push to adopt technologies, including voice and face recognition technology, will enable it to gain efficiencies even as it improves the experience of its customers and distributors.

“We are also driving automation across the board with almost 200 robotic process automation initiatives completed by March 2020. Technology is going to be key going forward, and we are committed to investing in it.

“One of our exciting initiatives last year was launching a program called Bizlabs, which focused on identifying fintechs which can partner with us in different areas,” he said.

Srinivasan said that if the history of the last century is anything to go by, every crisis, be it a World War, the Great Depression or the Global Financial Crisis, was followed by a period of strong growth and considerable innovation.

“We expect the same this time around as well, even though at the time of writing it is not possible to forecast when we will emerge from the current pandemic.

“We need to be prepared for both the growth and the changes that will follow and be equipped to capitalise on the opportunities that emerge,” he said.

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Published on August 10, 2020
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