Thanking all ranks across all Tata Group firms, outgoing chairman Ratan Tata in his final letter to the employees said that the times ahead will be tough because of a difficult economic situation and formidable competition due to more imports.
"We will probably see continued constraints in consumer demand, over-capacity and increased competition from imports," the Tata patriarch said.
Calling upon all employees to face the challenges ahead with grit and determination, the Tata chief in a note of optimism, said the hard times at present are just a "passing phase".
Tata headed the group for 21 years making it a $100 billion entity within two decades. Managing director Cyrus Mistry will step into Tata's shoes at the Bombay House, the group headquarters in Mumbai.
The full text of the letter:
As 2012 comes to an end, let me wish you and your family all the best for the New Year. I hope that 2013 and the future years bring you good health, peace of mind and great happiness.
This is also the last time that I write to you prior to my retirement as the Chairman of the Tata Group and I want to convey to you how privileged I have been to have had the opportunity of leading this great Group over the last two decades through good times and bad.
Whatever has been achieved has only been possible because of the amazing spirit, the dedication of each one of you and the enormous support and faith reposed in me, for which I am deeply grateful and appreciative. I feel immensely proud of the manner in which the employees and the companies have come together in facing crises from time to time. These have included adverse market conditions, natural calamities like earthquakes and tsunamis and gruesome acts of terrorism.
The memories of personal sacrifices, loyalty and individual acts of heroism will always remain in my memory, to reinforce the great sense of pride I have in having been a member of this team. We today are a $100 billion Group in revenues. Over the past 20 years our revenues have grown about 20 times and today 58% come from overseas operations. Our brand has emerged as the 45th global and the number one Indian brand. Our products and services are present in 85 countries. We therefore have every reason to feel proud and feel confident in facing the challenges ahead.The difficult economic environment that we face in the current year will most likely continue through most of the next year.
We will probably see continued constraints in consumer demand, over-capacity and increased competition from imports. There will therefore be great pressure on our companies to reinvent themselves in terms of business processes and to dramatically reduce costs, to be more aggressive in the market place and to widen our product range to better address consumer needs. We will also need to contain our borrowings and work hard to retain our margins. This environment would once again call on you for your support, your commitment and your dedication to achieve success in these somewhat difficult times. This seemingly gloomy picture however will be a passing phase.
I feel confident that the robust growth that India has shown over the past several years will be re-established and the strong fundamentals in the country will result in India once again taking its place as one of the economic success stories of the region. The Tata Group will undoubtedly play an important role in the continued development of our country, providing leadership in various industrial segments in which they operate and living by the value systems and ethical standards on which our Group was founded. The future growth of the Group will be led in the coming years by Cyrus Mistry.
I am sure that he will receive from you the same support, the same commitment and the same understanding that I have enjoyed over the years. Tatas are a Group where I feel proud to have belonged and proud to have been associated through the years. I wish the Group, Cyrus Mistry and each of you great success in the years ahead. I hope the Group grows and shines in the coming years.
Yours sincerely, Ratan N Tata, chairman, Tata Sons