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Delay in festive season causes September sales to skid for most…

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Delay in festive season causes September sales to skid for most…

 September has been a good month for most of the auto companies (mainly the 4 wheelers) as they have started getting ready for the festive season lined up during the next two months. Dealers are stuffed with inventory to catch the festive demand. With new product launch M&M has clearly shown that a good product portfolio attracts demand defying macro hurdles, while Maruti Suzuki has posted an unexpected performance as Manesar plant is back to normal and has in fact started second shift of operation. However, macros still remain weak for Maruti and valuations look stretched. Tata Motors though posted a negative growth, its negativity was insignificant as LCV segment excelled again. On the other hand, 2 wheelers have posted a dismal show in September as inventory pile up fear has come true leading to lesser push to the dealers’ end. Also, the sales in September were down yoy as in last year, the festivals were spaced out and had already started in September.  Hero, Bajaj and TVS Motors all have posted a yoy decline, while the latter has posted a good sequential growth. We expect the next couple of months to be strong for the industry and somewhat improve the full year performance.

 Ashok Leyland – (TP- Rs 25, Neutral) – MHCVs dip, Dost excels

In September, ALL’s MHCV sales dipped by 12% yoy to 7,596 units, while the LCV Dost sold 3,027 units v/s 197 units last year when it was just launched. Including Dost, the total sales increased by 21% yoy and 13% mom to 10,623 units. This clearly signifies that amidst pain in the MHCV segment, LCVs are still holding the forte strongly for ALL. YTD, the company has posted a 33% growth to 57,327 units mainly on the back of the LCV Dost, which was launched only in October last year.

 Bajaj Auto – (TP – Rs 1825, Neutral) – Exports recovery on track

Bajaj Auto’s September sales came 14% down on yoy basis to 3,60,152 units, while there was a mom improvement of 4%. Motorcycle sales de-grew by 15% yoy despite the new Pulsar 200 NS and Discover 125ST putting up a good show ( sold 9,000 units and 35,000 units respectively) in this month. Exports are seeing a mom recovery while on yoy basis the dip is narrowed to just 6% as Bajaj Auto sold 133,222 units with Sri Lankan and Egyptian markets almost up to their normal monthly run-rate. We expect full recovery from October onwards in exports and negative growth in domestic market to correct somewhat from the upcoming couple of festive months.

 Hero MotoCorp – (Under Review) – Solid dip

HMCL’s September sales nosedived by 26% yoy and 9% mom to 4,04,787 lakh units in September ahead of festive season which we believe is an attempt to clear off inventory and newly start stuffing the dealers with fresh inventory along with new models to catch the festive demand. Also the management has cited this dip as the current sentiment in the 2W industry. We expect demand to get back in full form from October onwards.

 Mahindra and Mahindra – (TP- Rs895, Neutral) – Consistent auto business, FES sees month on month uptick

M&M sold 48,342 units in the auto segment, 10% growth yoy and a 5% mom growth. Passenger UV sales in the month grew by 22% yoy to 23,808 units, which was a 15% mom growth. The UV sales growth came on the back of ramp up in the production of XUV5oo and a pan India launch of the same in June. Also the compact SUV Quanto was launched which has received a warm response, as its order backlog is at 3,000 vehicles currently. 4W pick-up segment which includes Gio, Genio and Maxximo posted a 7% growth yoy as the LCV segment continued to grow at a strong pace indicating strong demand in the sub 1 tonne market despite a slowdown in the bigger version of the CV sector. 3Ws went back to negative growth after a strong August, as sales declined by 17% yoy. Exports grew by a 3% yoy to 3,079 units as XUV5oo was launched in South Africa in August and traction was seen from geographies like Chile, Africa, Middle East and the US. FES segment posted a better than expected performance as the company sold 20,085 units in September which was a 24% yoy decline, however it was a whopping 52% rise mom. Although YTD FES segment has fallen by 7%, we expect second half to show some improvement on expectations of a strong rabi crop.

 Maruti Suzuki – (TP – Rs 1,123, Underperformer)-Surprising stuff!!

Maruti Suzuki (Maruti)‘s sales in this month came at 93,988 units up by 74% mom and 10% yoy which was much better than our as well as market’s expectations.  In a scenario where petrol prices are moving up, the bread and butter segment, the mini segment of Maruti comprising Alto, Wagon R and A Star grew by 4.9% yoy as the company is preparing for the festive season, while the company is providing >10% discounts on Alto and Wagon R. The compact hatchback segment comprising Swift, Ritz and Estillo has seen a fall of 9.7% yoy as diesel prices have seen a hike in the month while on the other hand, production at Manesar is slowly getting back to normal.  Dzire model which had been a star performer for Maruti succumbed to the lockout and declined by 60.7% yoy in August. But in September it came back to its old glory as it grew by 24.3% yoy. Vans segment grew in the positive territory after several months, as it went up by 7.5% yoy as vehicles such as Omni and Eeco showed some improvement. MPV segment, backed by the newly launched Ertiga sold 7,224 units thus maintaining its high demand base of ~7,000 units. SX4 model grew by about 46.9% yoy although the model has seen strong pressures over the past year as competition from Vento, City and Verna has increased. Exports looked weak this month again as they fell by 23% yoy. Although September sales were strong, and the next couple of months will continue to remain so, the company will still underperform on a full year basis as fuel prices are zooming up and interest rates are yet to cool off. At current price point, the stock looks overvalued to us.

 Tata Motors – (TP- Rs298, BUY)- Numbers above expectations

September sales for the company were lower by 4% yoy, while on mom basis, it went up by 5%. CV sales grew by 5% yoy, out of which LCV sales were up by 19% yoy signifying LCV segment’s defiance of the macro uncertainties. New launches like the variant of Ace Zip led to the growth in LCV. MHCV sales however slipped by 16% yoy as macro weaknesses continued to trouble in the month. PV segment sales fell by 18% yoy while an improvement is expected in festive season. Nano segment grew by 87% yoy to 5,491 units, while it was an 15% decline on a mom basis.  Indica range fell by 23% yoy while Indigo products posted 26% decline yoy. Utility segment sales were by 15% yoy.

 TVS Motor – (TP- Rs 32, Underperformer)- Aberration!

TVS sold 1.71 lakh units in September which was better than our expectations. This was a 10% mom growth and a de-growth of 22% yoy. Motorcycles de-grew by 29% yoy to 63,832 units, while scooters de-grew by 28% yoy to 40,055 units. 3 Wheelers improved drastically as it touched record high of 5,005 units a growth of 36% yoy.  We believe this to be a 2-3 months affair on account of festive season and the stock would in our view  remain an underperformer.

 

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Weak monsoon further dampens 2W demand

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Weak monsoon further dampens 2W demand

 August is traditionally a weak month due to monsoon. This year, the overall economy is on a weak wicket and monsoon has been a dampener due to which customers have been cautious while buying a vehicle. This sentiment was clearly reflected in the August numbers as two wheeler makers like Hero are facing the brunt of heavy inventories at the dealers’ ends as the 2W industry is softening. TVS expectedly underperformed, while Bajaj’s weak domestic business got somewhat offset due to exports improvement. On the 4wheeler side, Maruti’s sales came below expectations due to the lockout at Manesar, while M&M(Auto business) and Tata Motors performed as per expectations. We like Hero Motocorp from this level, followed by Bajaj Auto as we see an improvement in their numbers in the ensuing months, especially festive months of September-November. We continue to remain negative on Maruti and TVS, while Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland remain our top pick. M&M has run up a lot, due to which we see a limited upside from current levels.

 Ashok Leyland (BUY, T.P – Rs 29)- Inline performance better than the closest peer

Ashok Leyland (ALL)’s MHCV sales dipped by 8.6% yoy to 6,597 units while Dost sales came in at 2,835 units. On the back of strong performance of Dost, total volumes went up by 30.4% yoy to 9,432 units. On mom basis, MHCV sales declined by 5.5%, while Dost sales went up by 1.1%. Total sales volumes were down by 3.6%. On a YTD basis, MHCV sales are down by just 1.5% which looks much better than its peer and CV market leader Tata Motors, whose MHCV sales have declined by 20.7% YTD. This also indicates that ALL has won market share in the CV segment and discounting is much higher than Tata Motors.

 Bajaj Auto (BUY, T.P. – Rs 1,776) – Bajaj Auto’s sales numbers in the month of August came in at 3,44,906 units, a de-growth of 9.9% yoy and flattish mom growth. Motorcycle sales de-grew by 10% yoy to 3.04 lakhs. 3W segment declined by 9.2% yoy, while improved significantly by 14.9% mom to 40,544 as Sri Lanka and Egypt have shown some recovery. Total exports declined by just 4.8%, while they improved by 4.8% mom. As exports are seen normalizing as per expectations,  the company expects the new launches in the motorcycle segment to revive their domestic business from festive season onwards.

 Hero Motocorp (BUY, T.P. – Rs 2,187) – The dent which was seen in the company’s July performance deepened as sales in August declined by 11.9% yoy and 8.3% mom to 4,43,801 units which signals lower demand in the 2W industry and inventory pile up at the dealers’ ends as demand is rural India is also shrinking in line with the weak monsoon. We expect the sales to bounce back during festive months of September-November.

 Mahindra and Mahindra – (TP- Rs828, Outperformer) Auto business support the flagging FES volumes

M&M sold 46,226 units in the auto segment, 22.7% growth yoy and a 1.8% mom decline. Passenger UV sales in the month grew by 39.4% yoy to 21,831 units, which was a 1% mom fall. The UV sales growth came on the back of ramp up in the production of XUV5oo and a pan India launch of the same in June. 4W pick-up segment which includes Gio, Genio and Maxximo posted a 13.6% growth yoy as the LCV segment continued to grow at a strong pace indicating strong demand in the sub 1 tonne market despite a slowdown in the bigger version of the CV sector. 3Ws showed some improvement as the sales remained flat yoy after several months of negative growth. Exports grew by a whopping 56.1% yoy to 3,010 units as XUV5oo was launched in South Africa and traction was seen from geographies like Chile, Africa, Middle East and the US. FES segment weakened significantly as M&M sold just 13,234 units, which was a 17.3% dip yoy and 20% mom dip as monsoon in the southern peninsula of India was deficient and in many of the districts in Maharashtra and Karnataka, some of the major markets of M&M was declared a drought.

 Maruti Suzuki – (TP – Rs 1,123, Underperformer)-Lockout + Petrol underperformance

Maruti Suzuki (Maruti)‘s sales in this month came at 54,154 units as compared to 91,442  units, down by 40.8% and 34.1% qoq as lockout jolted the production from their Manesar plant which produces the high demand diesel vehicles like Swift and Dzire. This was well below our expectations of 60,000. In a scenario where petrol prices are moving up, the bread and butter segment, the mini segment of Maruti comprising Alto, Wagon R and A Star de-grew thick and fast by 41.2% yoy, despite the company providing >10% discounts on Alto and Wagon R. The recent unfortunate turn of events at the Manesar plant which resulted into a lockout at this plant for almost the full month of August led to a 62.2% decline in the diesel segment yoy. Dzire model which has been a star performer for Maruti succumbed to the lockout and declined by 60.7% yoy. Vans segment continued to de-grow by 7.3% yoy as vehicles such as Omni and Eeco underperformed. In the MPV segment, the newly launched Ertiga sold 6,883 units thus maintaining its high demand base of ~7,000 units. SX4 model declined heavily by about 76.4% yoy as there was dearth of diesel engines and competition from VW Vento and Honda City hit its performance. Exports looked weak this month again due to the lockout as they fell by 72% yoy. We do not expect the September sales also to post a strong growth as although the Manesar plant has re-started under tight security, it is producing only 150 units per day which will get slowly ramped up.

 Tata Motors – (TP- Rs283, BUY)- Volumes as per expectations

August sales for the company were higher by 12.1% yoy, while on mom basis, it fell by 3.1%. CV sales grew by 4.9% yoy, out of which LCV sales were up by 15.6% yoy signifying LCV segment’s defiance of the macro uncertainties. New launches like the variant of Ace Zip led to the growth in LCV. MHCV sales however slipped by 12.1% yoy as macro weaknesses continued to trouble in the month, however on mom basis it jumped by 14.8% thus showing some improvement in MHCV segment. PV segment sales grew by a handsome 32% yoy while it slipped by 15% mom. Nano segment grew by 441% yoy to 6,507 units, while it was an 18.6% growth mom, thus indicating success of the 2012 model of Nano, which is getting received very well in the market. Indica range dominated by diesel portfolio expanded by 5.3% yoy while Indigo products posted 29% decline yoy and 46.8% mom. Utility segment sales grew by 38% yoy while it declined by 9.9% mom.

 TVS Motor – (TP- Rs 36, Underperformer)- Reeling under competitive pressures and slowdown

TVS sold 1.55 lakh units in August which was very much in line with our expectations. This was a 4.1% mom and a de-growth of 20% yoy. Motorcycles de-grew by 30.9% yoy and 0.6% mom, while scooters de-grew by 26.9% yoy and 6.6% mom. 3 Wheelers improved mom performance by 18.4%, while yoy they declined by 17.1%.  In line with this, we continue to be negative on the stock as intensifying competition, high percentage of mopeds in the volumes, higher advertising expenses and weak product portfolio and bleeding subsidiary are weighing too much on the stock. Also the 2W industry is seeing some softness as well, which is weighing down on TVS a bit too much as compared to its peers.

 

PVs and CVs reel under the May heat!

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PVs and CVs reel under the May heat!

The month of May, which is generally a weak month for auto sales was this year impacted even more due to the overall negative sentiments arising from the global as well as domestic worries. Over and above, hike in petrol prices tarnished the last week of sales of the companies. Auto sales of passenger vehicles as well commercial vehicles companies like Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors respectively witnessed weakness, while 2 wheeler segment’s weakest performer TVS continued its dismal run. Hero Motocorp was an outperformer putting a stellar show once again thus enforcing our confidence in this stock. M&M put up a good show on the auto side especially on the UV side, while tractors sales came in a bit higher than expectations. On the PV side, we believe the first half of the year will be slightly tepid, while any further cut in interest rates, new model launches and diesel engine capacity ramp up will help the auto industry to grow mainly in the second half of the year. CVs will be driven mainly by LCV segment while MHCV will be a proxy to the economy of the country.

Hero Motocorp – (TP- Rs 1,996, Outperformer)- Bucking the trend

Hero posted a growth of 1% mom and 11% yoy in May at 5.56 lakh units. This was above our expectations as April and May are both weak, but Hero has bucked the trend defying any slowdown or sluggishness in the domestic two wheeler industry. We believe that competition from Honda is being overhyped as Honda’s 4mn capacities will have only 50% of motorcycle capacities(2mn) v/s Hero’d capacities of >7 mn thus providing Hero a huge margin over Honda. Before causing any trouble to hero, Honda will compete with Bajaj and TVS, by the time which Hero will be taking up their capacities to even higher levels through new capacity build up. Therefore among 2 wheelers, we prefer Hero over its peers also due to its market leadership position, strong presence in the executive segment, widespread dealership network and array of strong products.

Mahindra and Mahindra – (TP- Rs750, Outperformer) – Better than expected

M&M sold 43,988 units in the auto segment, 8% growth yoy which was a tad bit higher than our expectations for M&M. Passenger UV sales in the month grew by 31% yoy to 20,211 units, which was a slight decline mom. The yoy sales growth came on the back of the new launch of XUV5oo. 4W pick-up segment which includes Gio, Genio and Maxximo posted a robust 33% growth yoy as the LCV segment continued to grow at a strong pace indicating expansion in the total sub 1 tonne LCV market. Exports grew by a whopping 87% yoy to 4050 units as XUV5oo was launched in South Africa and traction was seen from geographies like Chile and the US. FES segment’s under performance over last 6 months took a breather as they posted better than expected numbers in May at 19,016 units which are still showing a growth of just 1% yoy, nevertheless it was a surge of 18% mom. Management expects second half for FES to be better than 1st half of FY 13 and grow by 5-6% in FY13.

Maruti Suzuki – (TP – Rs 1,300, Neutral)- Petrol portfolio adversely impacted despite higher discounts…..

Maruti Suzuki (Maruti)‘s sales in this month came at 99,884 units as compared to 104,073  units, 5% fall on yoy basis. In a scenario where petrol prices are moving up, the bread and butter segment, the mini segment of Maruti comprising Alto, Wagon R and A Star de-grew by 29% yoy, despite the company providing >10% discounts on Alto and Wagon R. The compact segment comprising Swift, Ritz and Estilo also showed a slowdown of growth at 14.7% v/s 43% posted in April on seasonality and sentiments. However, we expect this segment to get back to its previous month numbers of >20,000 as demand for diesel vehicles increases. Vans segment de-grew by 39% yoy as vehicles such as Omni and Eeco underperformed due to some vendor issues for manufacturing of Eeco. Also Wagon R production took a hit due to this reason. In the SUV segment, the launch of Ertiga led to s strong growth to 7,734 units v/s 1100 units yoy. Dzire model grew handsomely by 63.8% as the new diesel model consistently performed. SX4 model declined heavily by about 85% yoy as there was dearth of diesel engines and competition from VW Vento and Honda City hit its performance. Exports took a hit 11% yoy, as 1,500 units of exports were held up in transit and will impact sales positively in June. Any further rate cut by the central bank of India may have a positive impact on the volumes. Restriction on the expansion of diesel engine capacities may lead to a cap on the diesel engine sales going forward. Also yen appreciation and fuel price hike along with doling out of higher discounts on petrol cars will be impacting the stock negatively.

Tata Motors – (TP- Rs304, BUY)- Subdued show in line with our expectations

May sales for the company were higher by 3% yoy, while on mom basis, they were up by 7% on a low base of April. CV sales grew by 7% yoy, out of which LCV sales were up by 26% yoy signifying LCV segment’s defiance of the macro uncertainties. New launches like the variant of Ace Zip led to the growth in LCV. MHCV sales however slipped by 20% yoy as macro weaknesses continued to trouble in the month. PV segment sales grew by 6% yoy after a fall of 7% in April driven by Nano which grew by 31% yoy to 8,507 units, while other PV products posted declines. Utility segment sales were flat at 3,132 units. Indigo range sales were down by 20%.

TVS Motor – (TP- Rs 36, Underperformer)- Reeling under pressure

TVS sold 1.76 lakh units in May slightly better than estimate. This was a 1% mom and a de-growth of 5% yoy. Motorcycles de-grew by 15.2% yoy, while scooters grew by 1.7% yoy. 3 Wheelers have continued their underperformance as they declined 27.7% yoy to 2,920 units. In FY 13, TVS expects  to grow at 8-10% against 7.9% in FY 12. With rising competition in the scooter segment from Honda, M&M and Suzuki, slowdown in motorcycle segment and structural weakness in 3 Wheeler segment , we continue to believe that this expectation is optimistic and TVS will be a laggard in the 2W segment.

4-Wheelers marching ahead in March…

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4-Wheelers marching ahead in March…

The month of March witnessed an expected surge in auto volumes as pre budget buying was prevailing in the first half of the month and since there was no negative news for diesel cars except the expected hike of 2% in the excise duty across the board, the cheer continued in the second half as well. Seasonally a strong month – March saw companies like Tata Motors, Maruti and M&M (our top picks in that order) post all time high monthly sales numbers with each of their segments performing well. With Tata Motors touching the magic figure of 1 lakh, Maruti crossing its pre strike volume number and M&M with its new launches helping them to put up a record high in UV sales the auto industry saw a firm uptick. On the other hand, TVS continued its disappointment, signaling that Honda is taking its toll on their performance . Each of their segments saw a sharp fall in growth- thus showing fundamental weakness. TVS’s peers also posted a subdued show, however better than TVS. 2 wheeler companies have given a word of caution stating that they are still in a slowdown mode and there is nothing motivating to predict a bullish overtone to the 2 wheeler space in the coming year as of yet.

 

Ashok Leyland (TP – Rs30, Neutral)

Ashok Leyland’s March sales exceeded our expectations, as they sold 14,285 units, a growth of 17% yoy. This constituted the newly launched LCV Dost which sold 2,211 units, while the actual MHCV volumes declined by 0.8% yoy to 12,074 units. However, MHCV sales grew by 27% mom and LCV sales grew by 40% mom. The total sales surpassed Ashok Leyland’s full year target of 1 lakh units. In FY 12, the company grew at a pace of 8.4%. The company sold 94,416 MHCVs and 7,593 LCVs in FY12. Improvement in South Indian markets will remain a key to success in FY13.

 

Bajaj Auto (TP – Rs 1,620, Neutral)

Bajaj posted just 9% yoy growth in March and a 4% dip on mom basis. Motorcycles grew by 10% yoy while 3 wheelers grew by 4% yoy. Despite March being a strong month for auto industry, Bajaj like its peers posted a soft performance, below our expectations. In FY 12, the growth was 14%, while the company estimates to grow at 15% in FY 13, which we believe is a bit too optimistic considering the difficult operating environment in the midst of a slowdown. Exports of the company will also feel the heat with Sri Lanka (20% of exports) increasing import duties.

 

Hero Motocorp (TP- Rs 2,000, Neutral)

Hero posted a flattish growth in March at 5.28 lakh units, while on a yoy basis it was a growth of just 2%. The subdued performance of two wheelers signifies slowdown and sluggishness in the domestic two wheeler industry. However, competition from Honda may eat up the market share of TVS ( which has already started to happen), followed by Bajaj and then compete with Hero as the gap between the scale of Hero and Honda is very wide. Hence, we believe that within 2 wheelers, Hero is one of the stocks to look at.

 

Mahindra and Mahindra – (TP- Rs783, BUY) – Auto segment sails through, FES segment recovers…

M&M sold 47,001 units in the auto segment, a 25% growth yoy which was a stellar figure for M&M, a record high. This performance was better than our expectations. Passenger UV sales in the month grew by 30% yoy to 21,257 units, which was 14% growth mom. The strong sales on the recently launched XUV 500 and the new Xylo led to this strong growth. 4W pick-up segment which includes Gio, Genio and Maxximo posted a robust 28% growth yoy as the LCV segment continued to grow at a strong pace indicating expansion in the total sub 1 tonne LCV market. Verito sales were strong in the month at 1,763 units up a mammoth 73% yoy v/s 1,619 units in February. Export sales moved up by 31% yoy  to 2,659 units, however, this was flattish mom. Farm Equipment Segment (FES) which had posted a very robust growth of 71% in October almost halved in November, and moved down even further to 15,315 units in December and continued to go down with a negative growth of 6% yoy in January. This negativity went further deep in February, as M&M reported 20% dip in this month on issues of increasing delinquencies on the agri credit, slowdown of farm yields and overall tepid growth in Indian economy. However, March showed some revival in tractor sales on a mom basis, as they sold 17,405 units, almost a 15% growth mom. However, yoy they declined by 12%.  In FY 12, the company’s auto sales grew by 28%, while FES ended the year with just 10%, v/s 17-18% projected growth by management in October.

 

Maruti Suzuki – (TP – Rs 1,475, BUY)- Performance in line with expectations.

Maruti Suzuki (Maruti)‘s sales in this month came at 125,952 units as compared to 121,952  units, 3.3% growth on yoy basis, while on mom basis it was up by 6%. In a scenario where petrol prices are moving up, the bread and butter segment, the mini segment of Maruti comprising Alto, Wagon R and A Star de-grew by 10% yoy. The compact segment comprising Swift, Ritz and Estilo showed a solid growth of 23.6% as demand for diesel cars is moving northwards on the backdrop of gap between petrol and diesel prices increasing and the production of high demand new Swift getting back to normalcy of >17,000 units per month.  Vans segment grew by 146% yoy as the pre-launch dispatches of Ertiga started in March itself. Only the SX4 model faced a huge decline of about 58.1% yoy as there was dearth of diesel engines. Exports grew by 14.7% yoy, while growing at 17% mom to sell 13,228 units with non European geographies like Asia-Pacific, CIS countries and Africa showing growth momentum . In line with the new Dzire model launched in February, it has started creating a base of 15000-16000 units per month as it grew 60% yoy to 16,541 units in March. Any rate cut by the central bank of India may have a positive impact on the volumes, while petrol price hike will impact sales adversely. Status quo maintained on diesel cars taxation is a good news for Maruti and the cheer is expected to continue in coming months though 2% excise duty hike getting passed on have made cars costlier. State level levy of extra excise duty on cars will impact sales in those states in coming months(eg:- Maharashtra). Expansion of diesel engine capacities will help the company to cater to the bludgeoning demand for diesel cars. In FY 12, Maruti’s sales de-grew by 10.8% on competition, fuel price hikes, interest rate increase and strikes at the Manesar plant.

 

Tata Motors – (TP- Rs318, BUY)- Record high!

March sales for the company were at a record high of 100,414 units, 20.5% up yoy and 9% up mom. CV sales grew by a healthy 16.7% yoy, out of which LCV sales were up by a healthy 37% yoy signifying LCV segment’s defiance of the macro uncertainties. New launches like the variant of Ace Zip led to the growth in LCV. MHCV sales however slipped by 5.8% yoy while growing by 13.7% mom. PV segment sales have started to pick up since last quarter as they grew by 33.6% yoy on strength coming from Indica range which was up 64.6% yoy mainly on prebuying effect of budget and on new launch of Indica Vista launched a quarter back. Utility segment sales went up by 40.5% yoy. Indigo range sales were also up by 15% after underperforming in February. Nano sales were the star performer as they grew smartly up at 10,475 units, 20.3% up yoy and 13.6% mom. Continued strength in CV business aided by LCVs and robust PV sales have led to a continuous solid growth in volumes of the company. Total FY 12 growth of the company has been 13.3%.              

 

TVS Motor – (TP- Rs 50, Neutral)- Seasonally up… though the broad picture remains negative

TVS sold 1.83 lakh units in March in line with our subdued estimate. This was a de-growth of 4% yoy and a growth of 6% mom. Motorcycles de-grew by 17% yoy, while scooters fell by 7.6% yoy. However, the low cost mopeds performed well by growing 16% yoy. 3 Wheelers have continued their underperformance as they declined 33% yoy and 26.5% mom. In FY 12, TVS sales grew by just 7.9%. With rising competition in the scooter segment from Honda, M&M and Suzuki, slowdown in motorcycle segment and structural weakness in 3 Wheeler segment , we continue to believe that TVS will be a laggard in the 2W segment.

Two wheelers hit a roadblock, 4 wheelers better than expectations

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Two wheelers hit a roadblock, 4 wheelers better than expectations

 In a lean month of December, 4 wheeler companies posted a good performance despite severe pressures in terms of consumer sentiments, higher cost of ownership, high fuel prices, maintenance shutdowns at few companies and expected slowdown in demand. Maruti continued to sell more than 90,000 units, while M&M sold >42,000 units of auto sales including SUVs, LCVs and 3 wheelers, which was a good growth. Tata Motors also improved its PV sales performance with Nano putting one of its best performances in the recent past. On the CV side, LCVs continued their robust performance while MHCV grew within their limits. 2 wheeler sales spoiled the otherwise good show from the auto pack, as Bajaj Auto posted a dismal show and TVS Motor put up a suppressed growth. Going forward, with seasonally strong Q4 coming up, we see some recovery in auto sales. Any cut in interest rates or any moves by the government in budget like application of higher excise duty on diesel cars will be the triggers to the sector. Expected price hikes from most of the players may have a contra-intuitive impact on the volume performance of the sector. We continue our cautious view on the sector.

 

Bajaj Auto – (Under review) – Unexpected weakness witnessed

Bajaj posted a very disappointing sales performance in December as sales plummeted by 18% mom to 3,05,000 units, while growing at just 10% yoy.  Motorcycle sales were up 8% yoy and down 21% mom. A maintenance shutdown for 4-5 days, increasing inventories at the dealers’ end, weakening demand for premium segment two wheelers and lukewarm response to the recent launch of Boxer bike led to a tepid performance by Bajaj Auto. Exports de-grew by 7% mom while growing by 25% yoy. Going forward, as retail inventory gets cleaned up and seasonally good Q4 comes up, we are expecting Bajaj Auto to get back to the level of >350,000 units.

 

Hero Motocorp – (TP – Rs1,928, Neutral) – Solid resilience!

HMCL has surprisingly held a 5.4 lakh units  of sales  performance, a growth of 7.8% yoy and flat growth mom.  The company is a proxy to the rural growth in India and continues to post stellar numbers on growing rural economy even when its competitors are faltering. We expect them to put up a volume growth of 15% in FY 12, however we are concerned about competition coming up from Honda in FY 13 as they are rapidly ramping up the capacities against Hero who are at nascent stage of setting up new capacities which may become a constraint to their  growth. Slightly stretched valuations and margin concerns are other worries.

 

Mahindra and Mahindra – (TP- Rs889, BUY) – Auto segment posts decent performance, FES slows down

M&M sold 42,761 units, a 26% growth yoy while it was a growth of 5% mom. UV sales in the month grew by 23% yoy to 18,078 units, which was 8% growth mom. 4W pick-up segment which includes Gio, Genio and Maxximo posted a robust 35% growth yoy as the LCV segment continued to grow at a strong pace indicating expansion in the total sub 1 tonne LCV market. Verito sales were strong in the month at 1,263 units up 41% yoy v/s 896 units. Export sales moved up by 89% yoy  to 2,870 units with traction seen in major export markets like South Africa and US. Farm Equipment Segment (FES) which had posted a very robust growth of 71% in October almost halved to 17,527 as inventory correction happened in November and moved down even further to 15,315 in December and we expect the current monthly run rate of tractors to be maintained, thus punching a growth of close to 18% in FY 12. Opening up of bookings for XUV 500 again in 5 cities of Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi in January will lead to a better volume performance from this model in FY 13. Pan India launch will happen once the capacities move up to >5,000p.m. levels in May from current levels of 2,000 p.m.

 

Maruti Suzuki – (TP – Rs 887, Underperformer)- Stable sales performance

Maruti Suzuki (MSIL)‘s sales in December came at 92,161 units, flattish mom, while on yoy basis it was down by 7% as consumer sentiments in PV industry deteriorated off late. The flattish growth indicates signs of stability at Maruti’s end even when there was a maintenance shutdown at their plants. Had the  shutdown not been there, sales would have come close to 100,00 level. In a scenario where petrol prices are moving up, the bread and butter segment, the mini segment of Maruti comprising Alto, Wagon R and A Star de-grew by 16% yoy. The compact segment comprising Swift, Ritz and Estilo remained flat yoy.  Vans segment also declined by 42% yoy. Exports were the star performer as they grew by 50.5% yoy s they sold 14,686 units a jump over 11,000 run rate observed over the past few months. However, SX4 and Dzire segments posted growth, at 11% and 6% respectively. Any rate cut by the central bank of India may have a positive impact on the volumes, while petrol price hike will impact sales adversely. New launches from competitors add fuel to this. The upcoming auto expo in January will see two MPV launches from Maruti (one being named as Ertiga).

 

Tata Motors – (TP- Rs195, Neutral)- Performance par excellence!

December sales for the company were at 82,278 units, 22% up yoy and 7% up mom. CV sales grew by a healthy 14% yoy, out of which LCV sales were up by 20% yoy signifying LCV segment’s defiance of the macro uncertainties. New launches like the variant of Ace Zip led to the growth in LCV. MHCV sales also grew by 5%. PV segment sales have started to pick up since last couple of months as they grew by 47% yoy on some strength coming from Indica range which was up 57% yoy on new launch of Indica Vista launched a quarter back. Utility segment sales went up by 35% yoy. Indigo range sales were smartly up by 32% yoy. Nano sales grew at 7,466 units  29% up yoy and showing a quick recovery over the past few months and lows hit at 500 units in November 2010.

 

TVS Motor – (TP – Rs60, BUY)- Still below the monthly mark of 2lakh…

TVS Motor failed again this month to sell 2 lakh units. In October they had missed due to an unexpected maintenance shutdown. However, the fall in November came on weak motor cycle sales and the same continued in December as well. Total sales showed a flattish to a slight negative growth on yoy basis at 170,428 units, while sequentially they de-grew by 3%. Scooter sales grew by 7%, while motor cycle sales declined by 8%. Bloating up of inventory pipeline on weak retail demand led to such an underperformance. TVS’s 3 wheeler sales are on a lower trajectory as they sold just 2,523 units from 3,431 units sold in last December. Exports grew by 6% yoy. We believe that 15% volume guidance by management looks too optimistic. We expect 9% growth from TVS this year. In view of attractive valuations, upcoming new launches and economies of scale, we remain positive on TVS even after factoring 9% volume growth this year and 11% next year.

Mixed bag in Motown

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Mixed bag in Motown

 

With festive season falling completely in the month of October, November was seasonally a lean month for a few companies sequentially. However, on a yoy basis, most of the companies have posted strong growths. TVS numbers were disappointing in line, while Maruti, Hero and Tata Motors exceeded our expectations. M&M’s UV sales were robust in line, while FES segment sales were below our expectations.  Maruti saw a sequential rise on the back of labor issues getting settled off in November, while Hero Motocorp surprised the street with resilient demand and a sequential growth. Going forward, some moderation in growth is expected to set off in the auto sector with macro concerns like inflation, fuel costs and interest rates remain high. Within the 2 wheeler sector, there will be lower yoy growth rates due to high base effect and with competition setting to increase with Honda’s aggressive strategy impacting profitability. Bajaj Auto’s domestic growth will remain weak, but exports are expected to boost the overall sales, while Hero will observe subdued growth on higher base and capacity constraints over the next one year. M&M will continue posting strong UV sales while FES segment will observe moderation from October sales numbers, as seen in November. Any hike in excise duty on diesel vehicles may impact UV sales. Tata Motors will see positive movement in their CV sales as CV cycle is expected to turn strong if interest rates no more increase from here.

 

Hero Motocorp – (TP – Rs1,928, Underperformer) – Unexpected sequential surge!

HMCL has surprisingly posted a sequential 5% growth at 5.36 lakh units above our expectations. On a yoy basis, the company posted a 27% yoy growth. The company is a proxy to the rural growth in India and continues to post stellar numbers on growing rural economy. However, on the back of stretched valuations, we believe that the stock is factoring all the expected positives like the upcoming production plant, foreign venture and improvement in margins on softening RM costs. Market news suggest that slowing down on the macro front may force the company to put their expansion plans on the backburner, which may lead to capacity constraints on them.

 

Mahindra and Mahindra – (TP- Rs889, BUY) – Sequential decline in FES segment, UVs remain robust

M&M sold 40,722 units, a 53% growth yoy while it was slightly down on mom basis. UV sales in the month grew by 46% yoy to 16,686 units, which was flattish mom. 4W pick-up segment which includes Gio, Genio and Maxximo posted a robust 74% growth yoy as the LCV segment continued to grow at a strong pace indicating expansion in the total sub 1 tonne LCV market. Verito sales were soft in the month at 1,127 units , down 38% mom v/s 1,818 units. Export sales moved up by 71% yoy with traction seen in major export markets. Farm Equipment Segment (FES) which had posted a very robust growth of 71% in October almost halved to 17,527 as inventory correction happened in this month and we expect the current monthly run rate of tractors to slightly improve hereon and grow close to 17-18% in FY12. The festive launch of new SUV XUV500 priced in the range of Rs11-14 lakhs is expected to boost the UV sales as it has already attracted bookings of 8000 units in Tier 1 cities and the company has stopped taking any more orders. Capacity ramp up of XUV500 will boost UV sales going forward and also provide margin traction.

 

Maruti Suzuki – (TP – Rs 930, Underperformer)- Month on month numbers improve on resolution of labor unrest, however decline in FY 12 inevitable

Maruti Suzuki (MSIL)‘s sales in November came at 91,772 units, a sharp growth of 65% mom, while on yoy basis it was down by 18% as labor unrest got resolved in November. However, macro factors are spoiling the game as PV sector is struggling to gain its lost luster. The bread and butter segment, the mini segment de-grew by 27% yoy as it is the petrol portfolio of MSIL and rising petrol prices have taken a toll on this segment. The compact segment fell by 4% yoy.  Vans segment also declined by 34.5% yoy. Exports were down by 11.4% yoy. However, SX4 and Dzire segments posted growth, albeit in a single digit. We do not see Maruti to punch more than one lakh units in the near future and hence report a negative growth in FY 12. Additionally December may see a maintenance shutdown which may hit volumes by ~8000-10,000. MSIL’s market share in the first half of the year has gone down below 40%. Going forward, the recent and any more hike in interest rate by RBI will lead to it getting passed to customers sooner or later, which will further impact demand. New launches from competitors and fuel price hikes will add fuel to this. Hence, we believe that Maruti will continue to underperform its peers and the auto industry over the next one year.

 

Tata Motors – (TP- Rs195, Neutral)- Festive mood continues

November sales for the company were at 76,823 units, 41% up yoy and 11% up mom. CV sales grew by a healthy 28% yoy, out of which LCV sales were up by 41% yoy, signifying regaining of market share lost in October. New launches like the variant of Ace Zip led to the growth. MHCV sales also grew by a good 9%. This reflects strong CV sales despite macro headwinds. PV segment sales showed recovery as they grew by 81% on some strength coming from Indica Vista (up 91% yoy) on new launch of Indica Vista launched couple of months back. Utility segment sales went up by 35% yoy. Indigo range sales were slightly up by 3% yoy. Nano sales grew at 6,401 units on 3,868 units mom and 506 units yoy.

 

TVS Motor – (TP – Rs79, BUY)- Disappointing month

TVS Motor failed again this month to sell 2 lakh units. In October they had missed due to an unexpected maintenance shutdown. However, the fall in November came on weak motor cycle sales. This was in line with our expectations. Total sales grew by 12% yoy, while sequentially they de-grew by 5%. Scooter sales grew by 22%, while motor cycle sales remained flat. Exports grew by 53% yoy. Management still maintains their guidance of 15% volume growth with YTD growth close to 12.5%. They expect Q4 to be very strong on seasonality and couple of new launches.

 

Written by Fundamental Side

December 12, 2011 at 11:36 am

No real cheer in Motown during the festive season

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No real cheer in Motown during the festive season

 With festive pre-buying set in the month of September, October showed comparatively subdued numbers sequentially. Going forward, we believe that seasonality will creep in towards the end of calendar year and the next two months will be even more subdued. Additionally, PVs will face the heat considering the interest rate hikes and fuel price hikes. Two wheeler demand is expected to be firm with positive developments happening in the rural markets such as good monsoon, rise in MSPs and employment schemes enforcement. CVs are expected to grow at a steady pace close to 10% on demand from LCV segment.

 Bajaj Auto – (TP – Rs1,893, BUY) – Curfew at Pantnagar led to a loss of 25,000 units

Bajaj Auto has posted a record October performance by selling 3.95 lakh units, a growth of 7% yoy while it declined 7% mom. This has been the third month post the launch of 150cc Boxer, which again sold 10,000 units. Production got affected due to curfew at Pantnagar to the extent of 25,000 units. The twin brands Pulsar and Discover reported strong growth and contributed ~70% of total motorcycle sales. The company has recorded highest ever motor cycle sales in any October thus indicating that the 2 Wheeler sector is insulated from any macro headwinds. Three wheeler sales came in at 44,191 units, a growth of 8% yoy, and a fall of 5% mom. On the export side, Bajaj Auto sold 1.31 lakh units, a growth of 20% yoy and contributed 33% of sales v/s 29.7% yoy, which indicates a better profitability in the month. For the first seven months of the year, the company reported 15% yoy growth to cross the 2.65 mn mark.

 Hero Motocorp – (TP – Rs1,928, SELL) – Sequential de-growth

HMCL had posted a record breaking volume performance in the month of September as it sold 5.49 lakh units in the festive environment. However, in October it failed to reach that mark and reported just 5.12 lakh units , a growth of 1.2% yoy and a decline of 7% mom. The company mentioned that at retail levels, the sales were more than 6 lakhs in October. With the stretched valuations, we believe that the stock is factoring all the expected positives like the upcoming production plant, foreign venture and improvement in margins on softening RM costs.

 Mahindra and Mahindra – (Under Review) – Tractor sales robust, but auto sales slipped mom

M&M sold 41,506 units, a 20% growth yoy while it declined 6% mom. UV sales in the month grew by 6% yoy to 16,938 units, while declined 7% mom. 4W pick-up segment which includes Gio, Genio and Maxximo posted a robust 41% growth yoy as the LCV segment continued to grow at a strong paceindicating market share gain. Also new variants of Maxximo and Genio launched over the past month, which have performed well. Verito has posted yet another stellar month with a highest ever monthly sales recorded at 1,818 units , 16% mom growth v/s 1,560 units. Export sales moved up by 7% yoy with traction seen in major export markets. Farm Equipment Segment (FES) posted a very robust growth of 31% yoy to 31,838 units, while sequentially they zoomed up by a whopping 29% on festive demand post a strong monsoon and MSP on food grains being hiked. The festive launch of new SUV XUV500 priced in the range of Rs11-14 lakhs is expected to boost the UV sales as it has already attracted bookings of 8000 units and the company has stopped taking any more orders.

 Maruti Suzuki – (TP – Rs 930, Underperformer)- Lowest ever monthly sales in the last decade

Maruti Suzuki (MSIL) ‘s sales in October came at 55,595 units, a sharp decline of 53% yoy, while on mom basis it was down by 35% driven by labour unrest at its plants leading to a production loss of 40,000 units. Also macro factors spoiled the game as PV sector is struggling to gain its lost luster. The company was completely unable to enjoy the festive season this year. The bread and butter segment, the mini segment de-grew by 55%, while the compact segment fell by 56% yoy.  Exports were down by 64% yoy as A Star, the best selling export model faced the brunt of labor unrest at Manesar. We do not see Maruti to punch more than one lakh units in the near future and hence report a negative growth in FY 12. MSIL’s market share in the first half of the year has gone down below 40%. Going forward, the recent and the expected hike in interest rate by RBI will lead to it getting passed to customers sooner or later, which will further impact demand. New launches from competitors and fuel price hikes will add fuel to this. Hence , we believe that Maruti will continue to underperform its peers and the auto industry over the next one year.

 Tata Motors – (Under Review)- Sales slip sequentially

October sales for the company were at 68,009 units, 5% up yoy and 16% up mom. CV sales grew by 13% yoy, out of which LCV sales were up by 6% yoy, signifying some loss of market share to M&M and MHCV sales were 23% higher yoy, a trend reversal. This reflects strong CV sales despite macro headwinds. PV segment sales declined by 3% on macro pressures on the PV segment to 25,746 units while utility segment sales went up by 23% yoy.  Indica range grew by 11% yoy as a new variant of Indica was launched 2 months back. Indigo range sales were also low by 24% yoy. Nano sales grew on lower base at 3,868 units albeit low, up 26% yoy , while on mom basis, Nano’s grew by 30%.

 

Written by Fundamental Side

November 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm