India Inc. Sweeps Profits Amid Revenue Decline
Fortune India|December 2021
Fortune 500 companies deliver their highest-ever profit growth of 75%, while revenues fall year-on-year for the first time since the beginning of India listing in 2010.
V. Keshavdev

NO DOUBT FY21 will be remembered as annus horribilis with the rogue virus not just destroying human lives, but also affecting the Indian economy with real gross domestic product (GDP) growth falling by a record 7.3% in FY21 (around ₹10 lakh crore) — the first-ever massive decline since 1980 — to ₹135 lakh crore. But, every crisis has a silver lining. The year eventually turned out to be annus mirabilis for India Inc. in more ways than one. The initial fears that corporates will sink deep into the red, thankfully, did not play out.

The steep cut in corporate tax in September 2019 — from an effective 35% to 26% — coupled with cost-cutting during the pandemic helped corporates improve bottom lines. As firms deferred capital expenditure, internal cash flows were used to cut down on debt. Companies in the top 15 sectors reduced debt by more than ₹1.7 lakh crore in FY21, according to a State Bank of India study. That is reflected in this year’s Fortune 500 list, with the average debt-equity ratio of companies working out to 1.74x.

This is the first time since 2010 — when Fortune India began chronicling Indian corporates in the marquee listing — that year-on-year (Y-o-Y) revenue growth slid 2.4% in FY21. But, profit turned out to be the best-ever — growing at a record 75% Y-o-Y to ₹6.22 lakh crore, a resounding turnaround from last year when the Fortune 500 universe saw its cumulative profit decline 22% Y-o-Y to ₹3.6 lakh crore. Though the base effect did come into play, the performance was also aided by a concoction of higher prices, lower interest rates, and better cost management. Banking, oil & gas and IT services accounted for over 53% of the Fortune 500 profit pool for the year.

The Debutants

While the Fortune India 500 list is all about size, what stands out this year is that 418 companies from the 2020 list made it to this year’s ranking despite the pandemic and were prime contributors — accounting for 93.92% of the cumulative total income and 94.30% of the cumulative profit. Of 82 companies that couldn’t make it to this year’s list, the total income of 56 companies was below the cut-off of the last name on the list. Of the remaining, audited FY21 numbers were not available for 23 firms as on the cut-off date of October 31, 2021, and three subsidiaries were not taken into account since the parent or holding company’s consolidated figures were considered.

Notably, there are 58 debutants in the list with a cumulative revenue of ₹2.88 lakh crore and profit of ₹12,603 crore. Among the newbies, the highest revenue (₹21,204 crore) came in from MMTC-PAMP, the joint venture between state-owned MMTC and Swiss refiner PAMP, while fabric care player, Jyothy Labs, was the smallest with a turnover of ₹1,954 crore. There were also 24 names that re-entered the list with cumulative revenue of ₹2.48 lakh crore and profit of over ₹28,000 crore.

If change is the only constant, the listing had that in plenty with just 15 companies retaining their previous year’s spots. Two companies — Suzlon and Motilal Oswal Financial Services — jumped over 100 notches higher to ranks 307 and 332, respectively. For Suzlon, 2021 was the first year of restarting operations post debt-restructuring, while Motilal Oswal made the most of the investing frenzy seen on the Street during the fiscal — clocking ₹3,631 crore in revenue. However, 15 companies fell over 100 notches, with Future Retail tumbling the most — 182 ranks — even as other retail players in the apparel and jewellery business took a knock amid the lockdown.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FORTUNE INDIAView All

What To Do In Budget 2022

Top experts debate how Nirmala Sitharaman can put the economy on a higher growth path.

10+ mins read
Fortune India
January 2022

The Best Crypto Bets In 2022

Despite mouth-watering gains, allocation to meme coins should be minimal.

8 mins read
Fortune India
January 2022

Gold, Silver Safe Havens Of Investing

Investing in precious metals can hedge your portfolio as world markets go on a roller-coaster ride due to Covid-19.

5 mins read
Fortune India
January 2022

Why FM Will Score

The success of Nirmala Sitharaman's supply-side measures, robust tax numbers and an upbeat industry mean the finance minister has a lot going for her as she readies Union Budget 2022.

10+ mins read
Fortune India
January 2022

The Conversation JENNIFER SALKE, HEAD, AMAZON STUDIOS

Covid-19 left an indelible mark on the OTT industry as people worldwide were compelled to isolate themselves within the confines of their homes. As more and more got on the binge-watching bandwagon, an onerous task for streaming platforms was to cater to the burgeoning demand for original content. Jennifer Salke, head, Amazon Studios, talks about how the pandemic forced the company to think up new business models and out-of-the-box content.

7 mins read
Fortune India
January 2022

Where to Invest in 2022

Covid-19 made investors shift to riskier assets for higher returns in 2021. Here’s what to expect from different asset classes in 2022.

9 mins read
Fortune India
January 2022

Vodafone Idea's Long Road To Recovery

Telco struggles to tide over financial crisis with tariffhike and equity capital.

5 mins read
Fortune India
January 2022

Money Chases Real Estate

With the hybrid working model becoming the norm, demand for bigger homes, and the choice of a second house in the suburbs are leading the sector’s revival.

5 mins read
Fortune India
January 2022

Ministries Deliver Mixed Bag On Capex

A ₹5.54-lakh-crore booster shot for capital expenditure to kick-start the economic cycle has had a mixed effect. While some ministries have met targets, others have been extreme laggards. Is Centre's capex strategy working?

5 mins read
Fortune India
January 2022

Managing Wealth: Look Ahead, Look Wide

CY21 set a record of sorts with almost all asset classes delivering robust returns. The long-term case for investing remains strong for 2022 as well, concerns around valuation notwithstanding.

10+ mins read
Fortune India
January 2022
RELATED STORIES

Rest Assured

Area Assisted Living Residents Shelter Safely With Friends

5 mins read
The Best of Times
June 2020

Conservation alliances protect natural heritage

In 1984, when Charl van der Merwe purchased Brakfontein in the Northern Cape for sheep production, he could never have guessed that his farm would one day become a key element in the creation of a 240 000ha interprovincial protected area. Wouter Kriel spoke to two people involved in this far-reaching development.

6 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
December 10 - 17, 2021

Kerala on edge as more rains likely, dams to be opened

RAIN abated on Monday, but the state remained on edge. With dams receiving steady inflow and the Met Department forecasting more heavy rain from Wednesday, the focus has shifted to dam management, particularly in view of the 2018 deluge.

1 min read
The Morning Standard
October 19, 2021

The relevance of Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa

August is Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa (National Language Month) and many Filipinos, especially the younger generation, do not know why the nation’s leaders chose this scary “month of ghosts” for the observance.

2 mins read
Manila Bulletin
August 7, 2021

State of calamity in 2 towns, city

PAMPANGA, BATAAN FLOODING

1 min read
The Philippine Star
July 31, 2021

Duterte says PDP-Laban Party strong, united; Pacquiao removed as president

The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDPLaban) Party remains strong and united despite recent challenges, President Duterte declared following the election of new officials and the ouster of Sen. Manny Pacquiao as party president. He was replaced by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

3 mins read
Manila Bulletin
July 19, 2021

FIBA ASIA CUP QUALIFIERS Gilas vs S. Korea

Cagers to face fierce rival twice in June

1 min read
Manila Bulletin
April 24, 2021

‘OUR MOTHER TONGUE IS FAR MORE THAN A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION'

A Malaysia based Kashmiri student, Asiya Hassan, who is busy building Kashmiri Dictionary on the web tells Khalid Bashir Gura

5 mins read
Kashmir Life
February 28 - March 06,2021

Lashkar's Pak duo killed, 1 surrenders

TWO Pakistani militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba and a civilian were killed in a two-day long encounter in Pampore area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

1 min read
The New Indian Express Chennai
November 07, 2020

Rhea Anicoche -Tan

Always leading with an optimistic outlook, Rhea Anicoche-Tan and her brand, Beautéderm, are set to achieve new highs in the world of beauty

5 mins read
MEGA
November 2020