Asian Paints has clarified MD and CEO Amit Syngle’s comments to investors on India’s gross domestic product (GDP) numbers as “misrepresented”.

“… with reference to articles claiming that Amit Syngle, Managing Director & CEO, of Asian Paints, allegedly raised doubts about the GDP of India, at the investor conference held on 9th May 2024 … we would like to clarify that the comments are being misinterpreted,” it said.

In a stock exchange filing on May 15, the company said Syngle’s comments were “in response to a specific query” and “not meant to question the sanctity of the GDP numbers“.

Amid all this, the Asian Paints stock closed at 2,813, down 1.85 per cent, on May 15 after opening at 2,866.15 that morning. During the day, the stock hit a high of 2,874.25 and a low of 2,806.15.

The Clarification

“His (Syngle’s) comments were in response to a specific query on the correlation between the growth in the paint industry and the GDP,” it said.

“In that context (of the question), it was mentioned that the correlation of the paint industry growth with the GDP growth is varying, and we are unable to correlate both, unlike in the past. Historically, the paint industry was seen growing at a multiple of 1.5 to 1.75 times the GDP growth; off late, this correlation was distorted. It was, hence, called out that there is a need for examining the GDP data to understand the reasons for this variance,” the statement added.

“The comments (by Syngle) were not, in any way, meant to question the sanctity of the GDP numbers as being projected,” it said.

What Was Said?

Syngle, during interactions with investors, said the GDP figures do not correlate to core sectors, including steel and cement. “Not very sure how GDP numbers are coming,” Syngle said, pointing out that the numbers being talked about “do not seem to correlate to core sectors”.

Syngle said that the GDP numbers being talked about do not seem to correlate to core sectors such as steel and cement. “And sometimes you feel that there is such a variation happening across industries. How does that GDP really correlate to the actual GDP what we are kind of talking of. So, even if you look at the core sectors, whether it is steel, cement, so on and so forth, no where it is correlating with the kind of possibly overall GDP growth in terms of what we are kind of talking of,” he said.

Syngle’s responses gained traction after the Congress party questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government over GDP numbers and alleged that claims of India being the world’s fifth-largest economy are based on “fake GDP data.”

In a post on the social media site X (formerly known as Twitter, Congress referenced Syngle’s answer to investors to support its allegations.

“What everyone was saying is confirmed by Asian Paints MD & CEO Amit Syngle. He said that there is no correlation between GDP numbers and underlying sectors. GDP is off by a huge margin! He said this in the investor conference held on 9th May. The transcript is available online. So, the fifth largest GDP claim is also fake. God knows what is our real GDP!” it stated.

This salvo from the Congress against the incumbent government comes as the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls approach the last phase of the election cycle.

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Published: 16 May 2024, 09:36 AM IST

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