Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: The shareholders of public sector unit Balmer Lawrie & Co approved the highest-ever dividend of Rs. 20 per share (200 per cent) as the company achieved significant milestones in its businesses in 2008-09 despite recessionary pressures. The company operates in four segments — industrial packaging, greases and lubricants, travel and tours and logistics infrastructure and services.

The company increased its net profit by nearly 17 per cent in 2008-09 over the previous year, touching Rs. 102 crore on a turnover of Rs. 1,776 crore. But the company is anticipating loss of revenue in some of its businesses due to the austerity measures of the government.

The industrial packaging division continued to hold its lead position as a manufacturer of steel drums, although its performance was impacted in the second half due to the downturn. However, the company has recovered from this and volumes are expected to remain stable this year.

The logistics services strategic business unit was the largest contributor to the company’s bottomline, although the performance of the container freight stations, warehousing and distribution activities saw a denting of the leads taken during the first half of the year, mainly due to slowdown in export-import trade.

The travel and tours business did well in the face of adverse circumstances. While the domestic travel sector gave good business, international sector fell short of expectations. The wide customer-base helped turn in improved turnover and profitability, the company said. Leather chemicals also achieved growth both in volume and turnover despite difficult industry scenario.