Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) reported revenues of Rs.5,710 crore in 2011-12, 3 per cent higher than that in the previous year. Chairman and Managing Director Anil Kumar attributed the “below-par” performance “mainly” to the fact that the company could supply components for only 15 out of the 96 sets of the Akash missile system that were to be supplied to the armed forces during 2011-12. He blamed the failure on a public sector consortium partner, but refused to name the company.

BEL's post-tax profit declined from Rs.861 crore in 2010-11 to Rs.725 crore in 2011-12, a drop of 16 per cent. Mr. Kumar attributed the pressures on the company to the “challenging environment.” The proportion of earnings from supplies made to the defence forces declined from 80 per cent in 2010-11 to 73 per cent in 2011-12, which also affected profitability, he added.

“We do not have a monopoly in the defence sector,” Mr. Kumar said. The company plans capital expenditure of Rs.400 crore in 2012-13, against Rs.230 crore invested in the previous year.

BEL's exports also declined — from $41.53 million in 2010-11 to $38.45 million in 2011-12. H. N. Ramakrishna, Director, Marketing, said the decline was mainly because the government “disallowed” $6.5 million worth of supplies made to the Indian subsidiary of Thales, a French electronics systems company, to be categorised as exports. He explained that a significant portion of the orders in the pipeline “was clogged” because the government had to wait for “evaluations” by the defence forces and the government. The company's order book was Rs.25,748 crore on April 1, 2012, as compared to Rs.23,600 crore on April 1, 2011.

Mr. Ramakrishna said the company was “vigorously pursuing offset opportunities that will arise from the deal for the Indian Air Force's acquisition of Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).

To a question whether it was fair for the government, the dominant shareholder, to indulge in dividend stripping of the company at a time when it needed to plough back profits for investments in new technologies, markets and for capital expenditure, Mr. Kumar told The Hindu, that “Shareholders of the company who had invested need to be suitably rewarded.” It may be recalled that BEL had declared a dividend of 216 per cent in 2010-11 and an interim dividend of 100 per cent (amounting to Rs.68 crore) in 2011-12.

During the year, the company supplied six lakh tablet devices to the Ministry of Rural Development for use by enumerators for the socio economic caste census for the identification of below-the-poverty line (BPL) families. Mr. Ramakrishna said the company earned Rs.273 crore from the sale of the “ruggedised” device. He said a fresh model would be ready in the current year. BEL earned Rs.242 crore from its participation in the National Population Register Project, which covers a population of 57.62 crore.

More In: Business | Companies