We are building a network that redefines the way the whole industry thinks and works. Opening it all up, to refreshing ideas, to innovate ways and to new answers.
Before I share my thoughts about our performance for the reporting year, let me take you through the journey that has made us what we are today. It all started in 1969 in a small town called Vapi, Gujarat in a very modest way. Many of you may be aware, that we made the first indigenous red phosphorus in India and were awarded the President’s Gold Seal for this research and development. In 1975, we ventured into the export market; and over the decades, we have crafted an exciting story of growth and evolution. In our story, everyone wins. Today, it embraces the entire world and over seven billion people, who need at least 21 billion meals every day.
We have now prominent presence in global food systems, which is both a challenge and an opportunity for us. The challenge is to find sustainable answers to feed the growing population of the world, with scarcer resources. The opportunity is that we have the experience, expertise, technology and empowered global team to bring together all the different players in the food system. We have access to 90% of the world’s food basket and are focused on facilitating progress for the entire agricultural value chain, including growers, distributors, suppliers and innovation partners. We are building a network that redefines the way a whole industry thinks and works. Opening it all up, to refreshing ideas, innovative ways and new answers.
A CHERISHED MILESTONE
We celebrated our 50th anniversary in FY2020 and it is a rare occasion for all of us to introspect about what we can achieve now and in the next half-a-century and beyond. We have grown many-fold since inception both organically and through acquisitions.
The year 1994 marked UPL’s first international acquisition. Over the last 25 years, we have made over 40 acquisitions and have been successful in accelerating growth in a profitable and sustainable manner. The Arysta LifeScience acquisition represented the largest of them in our existence and possibly the most important.
Following the acquisition of Arysta LifeScience, we became one of the top 5 agricultural solutions companies worldwide. As a new company, we now offer an integrated portfolio of both patented and post-patent agricultural solutions for various arable and specialty crops, including biological, crop protection, seed treatment and post-harvest solutions spanning the entire crop value chain.
PERFORMING AMID CHALLENGES
Frankly speaking, the global operating environment for the entire stretch of FY2020 remained challenging with sub-optimal growth rates, heightened trade uncertainties, liquidity challenges followed by the global pandemic, which is still adversely impacting lives and livelihoods. At UPL, we have been able to sail through the crisis and deliver on our commitments to all stakeholders.
During the year, we also completed the successful integration of Arysta LifeScience, the company we acquired in February 2019, in a record time of just over one year. We are now fully integrated, and recorded a strong set of numbers in the first year itself. As always, we have constantly challenged ourselves to deliver more with less resources and set new benchmarks in the process.
As a global manufacturer and distributor of critical crop care solutions, we have been fortunate that our products have been classified as an ‘essential commodity’ to serve the world’s food chain during the pandemic. All our factories around the world remained in operation, following relevant geography-specific safety guidelines. We also lived out our commitment of being ‘Always Human’ through our global community initiatives to help citizens fight the crisis and support human lives.
Moving on to the Indian landscape, our teams and facilities continued to operate during the year with relevant safety guidelines issued by the government. I must also mention in this context that we welcome the government’s decision of allowing exports of 27 proposed products, which were earlier proposed to be banned. We remain confident that the government will take a pragmatic approach and permit the sale of these products in the domestic markets too, as they provide cost-effective solutions to farmers, thereby ensuring stability of the food supply chain.
MORE SUSTAINABLE FOOD PRODUCTS
With our diversified manufacturing facilities, empowered teams, expert partners, stronger innovation bandwidth, end-to-end solutions in crop protection and reach across global markets, we are committed to create a sustainable food supply chain for the world.
We have close to 3,000 patents and pending patents. We believe that the intensity of our R&D will continue and increase in future. Also, we believe that today with the growth in resources that we have and the increased budgets we have we can be more innovative; and we can resource our processes much further than we could before and drive bigger innovation. We are also open to collaborate with different partners and stakeholders to bring sunrise innovation to the market.
With one foot in emerging markets and another in the developed world, we are now at the sweet spot between scale and agility. Although these are tough and uncertain times, with your encouragement and support we are confident of our ability to deliver industry-leading growth in the coming years.
Chairman and Managing Director