Registering a "very good" quarterly performance, Bajaj Auto on Thursday reported a 23 per cent jump in profit after tax at Rs 1,556 crore for the three months ended December 2020, on the back of higher volumes and exports.
The company had posted a profit after tax of Rs 1,262 crore in corresponding quarter of the previous financial year, Bajaj Auto said in a statement.
Its sales from operations during October-December 2020 rose 17 per cent to Rs 8,910 crore, compared with Rs 7,640 crore in the year-ago period.
The firm sold a total of 13,06,810 vehicles during the third quarter of the current fiscal, a rise of 9 per cent as against 12,02,486 units a year ago, it said.
"The third quarter of financial year 2020-21 has been a record quarter for the company with the highest-ever turnover which for the first time ever exceeded Rs 9,000 crore; the highest-ever profit before tax which for the first time crossed Rs 2,000 crore," Bajaj Auto Ltd said.
Also, the company recorded an expansion in operating Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) margin to 19.8 per cent, driven by higher operating leverage and better product mix, it said in the release.
Bajaj Auto Chief Financial Officer Soumen Ray said the company clocked the highest-ever turnover despite the headwinds such as an uncertain domestic market, especially in the commercial vehicle segments, increasing costs and a shortage of containers for exports, especially the commercial vehicle segment.
"It was a very good quarter with the highest-ever topline (revenue) as well as bottomline (profit)," he said.
He said there was a lot of festive demand also during the quarter whether in India or some parts of the world.
"We feel the domestic motorcycle (is) coming back to almost pre-COVID-19 level with a plus or minus two per cent growth. The domestic commercial vehicle industry, however, continues to be tough. We hope we should reach about 50 per cent of the normalised sales by the end of the March quarter," he said.
The fourth quarter this fiscal will show significant growth over the year-ago same quarter, primarily because we had a base of transition from BS-IV to BS-VI and the impact on operations in the last 15-odd days of March 2020, he said.
Exports continued to be on a roll with the highest-ever shipments in October and December, he said.
There was some overflow of orders because of the unavailability of containers for exports, he added.
Domestic two-wheeler sales grew eight per cent to 5,85,469 units, from 5,42,978 units a year ago. Commercial vehicle sales declined 65 per cent to 34,230 units, compared with 96,736 units, according to the release.
Total domestic sales declined 3 per cent to 6,19,699 units, compared with 6,39,714 vehicles sold in the December 2020 quarter.
The exports were over 6,87,000 units, the highest-ever, despite the shortage of containers, the company said.
"On the demand part, (it is) reasonably decent but costs are a big concern. There has been a very steep rise in costs, primarily of steel and aluminium, which is a large part of our expenses. Also, the crude is hovering at around USD 55 per barrel. So, we will see some pressure on petroleum products as well," he said.
Ray said that while the company has undertaken price revision in some markets from January, it will take up some more price revisions soon, as it is difficult to recover the whole cost increase in one quarter.
Stating that the volumes are looking "reasonably decent", he said that in the premium segment, Dominar, KTM or Huisqvarna did very well.
On the exports side, "in two-wheelers, we have certainly seen demand coming back barring Asean and Sri Lanka", Ray said.
He said the joint venture with Triumph Motorcycles continues to be impacted because of travel restrictions. "But, work is going on, our R&D and their R&D are collaborating. We would like it to happen much faster but under the current circumstances, both sides are doing the best that can be done. " He said that while the Asean market is expected to come back to normal in another 3-6 months, the Sri Lankan market does not seem to be recovering soon because of the ban on non-essential imports till December 31, 2021.