Group Chairman's Address - 76th AGM

Dear Shareholders,

I am addressing you all at a time when the nation has been impacted by the second wave of the Corona virus. Undoubtedly, this is the most severe test ever faced by all of us - households, corporates, civil society and the Government.
At this critical juncture, as important as observing health and safety measures is to remain psychologically strong, guard against cynical despair and stay united in our shared sense of purpose. As they say, the darkest hour is before dawn, and we are already beginning to glimpse early signs that give rise to cautious optimism.
Your Company reiterates its strong commitment to serve the people of this country, and expresses solidarity with the nation and its leadership.

 

Response to the Pandemic

L&T's first priority has revolved around taking every possible care of its employees, contract workers and society at large. For our employees, we have initiated a broad spectrum of measures that encompass financial, medical and insurance assistance as well as educational support. 

We consider our contract workers as part of our extended workforce and have continued to pay their wages and provide food, shelter and medical assistance. This was done while maintaining the prescribed Covid preventive and containment protocols at all our factories and project sites.

In addition to a donation to the PM Cares Fund at the onset of the crisis, the L&T Group has also supplied test, medical and PPE kits to locations around the country. When the second wave threw up the unexpected challenge of an acute shortage of oxygen, we responded by activating our global procurement arms, and supplied oxygen generators to various hospitals in India. We also supplied oxygen concentrators, ventilators and ambulances.

Our construction business has converted many hospitals into Covid Care Centres. We have installed smart technologies in over 20 major cities to help state governments and local authorities in their endeavour to contain the spread of the virus. These public-spirited initiatives by your Company have been widely acknowledged by multiple state governments.

 

Country Displays Economic Resilience 

 

Against all odds, our country has demonstrated commendable economic resilience despite stringent lockdowns, reverse migration of labour and supply chain disruptions.

Since infrastructure investments serve the twin benefits of improving productivity and generating employment, we believe that the underlying macro drivers for investments in India remain intact. Your Company is poised to capitalize on these opportunities as they emerge.
The Company continues to focus on shareholder value creation by divesting non-core assets, capturing cost efficiencies and leveraging technology for productivity gains. The Company's strategically diversified business portfolio, geographical dispersion, robust balance sheet and strong order book are reliable signposts to a brighter future. Further, its proven execution strengths and committed work force are helping it to successfully make the transition to a more digitally evolved work environment. This should enable the business to thrive and grow, once the immediate challenges posed by the pandemic are overcome.

It gives me great pleasure to inform you that the Board of Directors has recommended a final dividend of Rs. 18 per share for the year FY21. This is in addition to the Rs. 18 per share of special dividend declared earlier during the year. 

Expanding International Footprint

The Company has gradually expanded its international footprint through geographic dispersion as a conscious de-risking strategy. While the Middle East region has obviously remained an area of focus, the Company has turned its attention to many countries in Africa as well as South East Asia. Currently, the Middle East region constitutes 61 % of the international order book of Rs. 68773 crore.

At the Forefront of Sustainability Initiatives 

Our Group is over eight decades old and we have been at the forefront of many sustainability initiatives, long before they were mandated by law. In other words, we internalized the spirit behind ESG and were among the early companies who turned precepts into practice. An annual reporting cycle has been maintained for all our Sustainability Reports since 2008. These reports are accessible on the Company's website.

As the community sees it, sustainable development must necessarily translate into the tangible things that make life safer, less burdensome and more promising for their children. On our part, we are helping to provide the communities around us with better access to potable water, an improved level of sanitation, and facilities for health, education and skill building.

Turning to governance, at L&T, our core values pivot around the principles and ideals based on independence, transparency, accountability, responsibility, compliance, ethics and trust.
In recognition of our efforts, we received the 'Grant Thornton Bharat SABERA' award for Best Integrated Reporting.  

 

FY 2021-22 - Cautious Optimism 

 

The outlook for FY 2021-22 is one of cautious optimism, with the country's GDP regaining positive territory thanks to the base effect in the first half, followed by robust growth in the second. We therefore believe the recovery is 'delayed' and not 'derailed'.

I would like to thank Team L&T as well as our customers, vendors, governments and other stakeholders for the confidence and trust they have reposed in us. I also thank my fellow Board members for their invaluable support in guiding the Company and enabling another year of growth.

 

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