Most of the planned capex will be employed in zinc, oil and gas and aluminium businesses, said the company's chief financial officer, Arun Kumar. He was addressing the shareholders attending the AGM in Mumbai.
With a strong balance sheet and profitable businesses across all segments, Vedanta Ltd is expected to continue rewarding its shareholders with dividends, added the management.
The company has reduced its gross debt by over Rs 10,000 crore over a period of 15 months. Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) stood at Rs 21,437 crore in FY17, marking an increase of 41 per cent over the last year. The company's consolidated net debt stood at Rs 71,569 crore as on March-end in 2017.
"We declared record dividends of Rs 7,100 crore last year, amounting to about Rs 19.50 per share. In addition to this, our subsidiary, Hindustan Zinc, also announced record dividends of Rs 27,157 crore. We have announced a liberal dividend policy that will return a significant portion of our earnings to shareholders, and ensure an attractive dividend pay out to our shareholders," said Agarwal.
The company is currently scouting for a chief executive officer (CEO) to replace Tom Albanese, who would be leaving the company by the end of August.
While the company continues to struggle for captive bauxite to meet its aluminium smelter requirement in Odisha, there was no significant value loss in terms of cost, said the firm. Currently, Vedanta is sourcing its bauxite requirement from Chhattisgarh, besides relying on ore imports.
"Our aluminium production exit rate of 1.4 million tonne is a 40 per cent increase over the exit rate of the previous year. We are making a strong progress towards achieving our full production capacity of 2.3 million tonnes for aluminium," informed Agarwal.