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In Financial Year 2012–13, despite an increasingly challenging economic environment, we continued to deliver strong results. We built further on our good performance in last Financial Year, delivered on our goals and strengthened our position as the leader in our sector.
Our Domestic Consumer business grew by 16% with 7% underlying volume growth. All segments grew in double digits. Profit before interest and tax (PBIT) grew by 23% with PBIT margin improving 80 bps. Profit after tax but before exceptional items, PAT (bei), grew by 28% to Rs. 3,314 crores with Net Profit at Rs. 3,797 crores growing 41%. With the Final Dividend of Rs. 6 per share proposed by the Board of Directors, an Interim Dividend of Rs. 4.50 per share and a Special Dividend of Rs. 8 per share already paid, the total dividend amounted to Rs. 18.50 per share for Financial Year 2012–13.
Our single minded focus on consumers and a strong pipeline of innovations helped us to further strengthen our portfolio and brands. In Financial Year 2012–13, we expanded our portfolio in several categories like hair care, male grooming, frozen desserts and beverages while continuing to invest behind our core brands. Ten of our brands now feature in the Rs. 1,000–Crore club.
We strengthened our partnership with customers by launching a state–of–the–art Customer Insight and Innovation Centre (CiiC) in Mumbai. The CiiC provided us with a platform to co–create marketplace ideas with shoppers. Our efforts were recognised by Walmart, Tesco, Metro and Hypercity, who declared us "Supplier of the Year".
A first–of–its–kind helpline for traders was set up to help us connect with our vast distribution network. We enhanced our rural reach and empowered Shakti ammas through a mobile phone application that helped them serve rural consumers even better.
While it was business as usual on the growth agenda, it was business unusual on costs. We redefined our end–to–end saving program focusing on material savings, logistics savings and manufacturing cost saving. We continued to have negative working capital in Financial Year 2012–13. We reduced DOH (days on hand) inventory by 7 days through the use of IT solutions, a re–design of the sourcing network and a reduction in lead time for raw materials and packaging materials and improved factory reliability.
We made good progress on our Sustainable Living Plan priorities to reduce our environmental impact and increase our positive social impact. Lifebuoy reached out to 47 million people through its hand washing programme. Pureit helped 45 million people gain access to safe drinking water, globally.
We also launched Project Neutral to further reduce the impact of our manufacturing processes on the environment. For every tonne of production in our factories, C02 emissions reduced by 22%, water use by 29% and waste by 77% compared to 2008 baseline. 31 out of our 38 factories are now zero non–hazardous waste to landfill.
We also made excellent progress in our effort to achieve 100% sustainable sourcing of our agricultural raw materials. Today, 69% of our agricultural raw materials are sustainably sourced. This includes 100% of our palm oil, which is now all backed by GreenPalm certificates. We have also made a start on our new target of purchasing all our palm oil from certified and traceable sources by 2020.
To conserve water for public good, we set up the Hindustan Unilever Foundation (HUF), a wholly–owned subsidiary of HUL. The HUF has undertaken water conservation and storage projects in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The projects are in partnership with state governments, NGOs, government agencies such as NABARD and members of the local community. The Foundation's partnerships have resulted in water storage and conservation potential to the extent of 25 billion litres as of March 2013. We aim to conserve 70 billion litres of water by 2015. Over the years, we expect one million people to benefit from our efforts and a 15% rise in crop production in villages in India.
Sustainability is now firmly at the heart of our business model and is driving growth, reducing costs and fuelling innovations that are good for the planet and for consumers. We see this as a source of competitive advantage for the business now and in the years ahead.
We continued to attract the finest talent in the industry. We retained our position as the No 1 Employer Brand and for the fourth consecutive year, we were declared the "Dream Employer" in a survey across top business school students. We received several recognitions for our leadership practices and corporate governance. In Financial Year 2012–13, we were ranked 12th in the Forbes Super 50 list of "The World's Most Innovative Companies".
We have always believed that our biggest assets are our people. I would like to thank each and every employee whose commitment and efforts made Financial Year 2012–13 yet another successful year for the Company.
The current economic environment is extremely challenging; competitive intensity remains high and is likely to increase. However, we remain committed to drive the business towards delivering consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible growth.
I would like to thank you, all our shareholders, for your continued support and trust in us and our journey.
With warm regards,