Nusli Wadia will step down from Britannia board soon

Image Source: Quartz India

Aug 7, 2018

Britannia Industries Chairman Nusli Wadia, gave an indication that he may soon step down from the board to pass on the lead to the younger generation and make the board look younger.

During Britannia’s 99th annual general meeting (AGM) held in Kolkata recently, while addressing a shareholder query on the “age of the board”, 74-year-old Wadia said the company will soon see a “refreshed board, including myself.”

Later speaking to the newsmen, he said, “at an appropriate time we will renew the board. I am also getting older…” He joined the Britannia board in 1993.

Board of Directors of Britannia includes Nusli Wadia, MD Varun Berry, and three promoter directors — Ness Wadia, Jeh Wadia and A.K. Hirjee. There are eight other non-executive independent directors.

Britannia’s board of directors at a meeting in May 2018 recommended the continuation of Nusli Wadia as director who would turn 75 in February 2019 and co-incidentally promoter non-executive director Hirjee also turned 75 years. The proposal was put up for shareholder approval during the AGM. Britannia in its latest annual report said non-executive independent director S.S. Kelkar, who attained the age of 75, has expressed his desire to step down from the board in 2018-19.

Separately, the company also took shareholder approval to extend the MD’s tenure for another five years from April 2019 to March 2024.

Wadia said Britannia is planning to invest Rs. 400-500 crore by next year for capacity expansion and development for new products, including Rs. 300 crore to set up a dairy plant whose plant site may be relocated from Maharashtra to Andhra Pradesh since the company is still to hear from the Maharashtra government.

“Britannia has been waiting to hear from the Maharashtra government for over a year on the incentives for the dairy project. Hence, we are exploring whether to shift the project to Andhra Pradesh,” Wadia said.

With a sale of Rs. 4,000 crores of Good Day biscuit by Britannia it will soon overtake the country’s largest selling biscuit brand, Parle G, of Parle Products in coming three years at the present growth rate. The company will launch 50 new products this year to celebrate the company’s 100 years of operation and will also unveiled a new logo to commemorate its centenary year said Berry.

“While biscuit business is 75% of our revenue, we expect the non-biscuit segment to grow whereby the ratio should be 50-50 in next five years,” Berry added.

The Britannia board also approved issuance of secured redeemable non- convertible debentures as bonus debentures of Rs. 60 in the ratio of one bonus debenture for every one equity share.

According to Wadia the company would incur a total cost of Rs. 1,000 crore for issuance of bonus debentures and to pay dividend to the shareholders.

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