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Permit me to start with a personal message. In April this year, I lost my father, Shri Rama Prasad Goenka, who was the Chairman of your Company. Losing one's parents is hard but the more so when the person happened to be my greatest teacher, adviser and friend.
If, in the years of chairing your Company, I can put to work all the things that I learnt from him, then I will have not only done him proud but also have done well for the future of CESC and you, the owners. Therefore, I ask for your blessings so that I can do what he did to see clearly, act decisively, increase the value of the business, and discharge my obligations as a member of the wider community.
He would have been happy with where CESC is today. The results are better than before. Here is a quick snapshot for 2012–13.
He would have been happier still to see other aspects of your Company's growth. Let me touch upon a few.
In the power business, we are close to completing the new 2 x 300 MW thermal power project in Chandrapur (Maharashtra). Construction is also progressing well at Haldia (West Bengal) for another 2 x 300 MW thermal power project. As an entity, therefore, we seem to be well on track to get to our goal of having a pan–India footprint of thermal power plants, and to move towards the target of adding over 7,000 MW of generation capacity.
CESC operates four generating stations, which cumulatively produce 1,225 MW. Three of these stations use pulverised fuel (PF) as the primary energy source. I am happy to inform you that in FY2013, CESC's composite plant load factor of the three PF plants was over 86%, versus the national average of 70%.
Your Company continues with its success in substantially reducing, if not eliminating, power outages for its 2.7 million customers in Kolkata and Howrah. In the course of 2012–13, HT faults and restoration times reduced further the former falling by more than half of what existed in 2007–08, and the latter by almost two–thirds.
Apart from these, CESC is carrying out projects to upgrade its distribution network, and enhance the network capacity and supply reliability for efficient handling of demand growth. Some of the major projects are:
New substations, including a first–of–its–kind underground substation at Park Circus, and an indoor multi–tier gas insulated switchgear (GIS) substation in New Cossipore.
Greater connectivity, involving major overhead transmission lines and river crossings.
Automated meter reading, which began last year is now gathering pace.
Modern Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems are being increasingly commissioned using optical fibre. SCADA provides a reliable method to remotely monitor and control substations and help in rapidly restoring power supply.
As a utility company servicing over 2.7 million payers, establishing and maintaining high levels of customer service is an overarching objective of CESC. We have substantially redefined the customer relationship management (CRM) function. These involve providing key information to customers through SMS and e–mails; web enabled services such as billing, tracking of applications, downloading forms, bill payment through ECS and Net Banking, and RTGS / NEFT facility for High Tension commercial customers.
Let me now move on to the two other businesses under the consolidated entity of CESC Limited. These are retail and business process outsourcing (BPO).
RETAIL Spencer's Retail Limited (SRL) now has 132 stores across India under the Spencer's label, including 26 hypermarkets. Despite a difficult environment, SRL's efforts at improving profitability and controlling operating expenses resulted in improved performance. During 2012–13, it registered same store sales growth of over 16%, with an average revenue per square feet of Rs. 1,226 per month versus Rs. 1,060 in the previous year. Its operating losses came down from Rs. 140 crore in 2011–12 to Rs. 78 crore in 2012–13. It completed closing down unprofitable stores in smaller formats. Thus, 2013–14 will see SRL rolling out new stores in the hypermarket format, which will allow it to consolidate its presence in existing clusters.
BPO: During the year, Spen Liq Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of CESC, purchased a majority stake in Firstsource Solutions Limited (FSL), India's fifth–largest BPO Company. FSL has a strength of around 31,000 people, spread across 47 delivery centres in India, the US, the UK, Ireland, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. It serves over 100 global clients including 21 Fortune 500 companies and 9 FTSE 100 companies. This acquisition is in line with your Company's strategy to strengthen its presence in new businesses with major growth potential.
Thus, we reinforced our core operations in electricity generation, transmission and distribution. We increased efficiencies. We improved customer connect. We focused on fixing our retail business. We used IT to consolidate efficiencies and deliver superior services. We improved revenues and profits. And we made acquisitions for suitable diversifications
These would have pleased your erstwhile Chairman to no end.
I am happy to inform you that in FY2013, CESC's composite plant load factor of the three PF plants was over 86%, versus the national average of 70%
My thanks to all your Company's employees who rank among the best anywhere. And to you for your good wishes and support.
28 May 2013