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CHAIRMAN & CEO'S LETTER TO THE SHAREHOLDERS
As companies grow more profitable, they often seek to give back a part of their earnings to society. Attitudes to doing so vary. From the narrowly minimalist approach which argues that this is not the function of a corporate enterprise ("the business of business is business" as the economist, Milton Friedman put it) to the instrumentalist attitude which gives back to society in ways which could benefit the business prospects of the corporate enterprise, to pure philanthropy wherein the objectives of corporate social responsibility are set independently of what might benefit the corporate enterprise, companies are driven by different philosophies.
The Axis Bank Foundation was set up in 2006 to provide philanthropy, and is registered as a public trust. Your Bank transfers each year 1% of its net profit for the previous year to the Foundation, this being the maximum which the RBI permits. Giving Back is therefore the theme of this Report, and in several pages we describe the exceptional endeavours of NGOs which the Foundation supports through the lives of those who benefit. The trustees who run the Foundation have focused on education for underprivileged children, and these are largely supported by programme grants so that projects become replicable.
This is a good time for your Bank to be 'giving back', for it has just completed a very successful year. Its Net Profit rose 69.50% to Rs. 1,815.36 crores, its assets grew 35%, and productivity and efficiency levels (whether measured by Return on Assets or Return on Equity or Profit per Employee) have risen well over the year. Most of all, the Bank finds itself competitively positioned in several of its key businesses, and this should augur well for the year ahead.
P. J. Nayak
Chairman & CEO
20th April 2009.