ITC, India's biggest tobacco brand and owner of the nation's second-largest hotel chain, posted a 20 percent gain in first-quarter profit, helped by tax savings and higher occupancy at its hotels. Net income in the three months to June 30 rose to 5.58 billion rupees, or $128.3 million, from 4.65 billion rupees a year earlier.
Sales of cigarettes account for almost 58 percent of total revenue. ITC owns WILLS one of the top brands of cigarattes in India. ITC's net sales gained 25 percent to 22.69 billion rupees in the quarter that ended June 30. Gross sales increased to 39.61 billion rupees from 33.39 billion rupees in the year-earlier period. ITC's food, garment, stationery, match and incense-stick business posted sales of 5.63 billion rupees in the year that ended March 31, 2005.