India Inc’s profits may be under pressure

Apr 06 2014, 01:04 IST
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Q4FY14: Pharma & IT sectors will gain from weaker rupee, capital goods & cement will fare poorly. Reuters Q4FY14: Pharma & IT sectors will gain from weaker rupee, capital goods & cement will fare poorly. Reuters
SummaryQ4FY14: Pharma & IT sectors will gain from weaker rupee, capital goods & cement will fare poorly.

If corporate earnings in the third quarter of FY14 were a shade better than expected, it was thanks to a spectacular performance from Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR), the overseas subsidiary of Tata Motors.

Without JLR, the numbers turned out to be less than ordinary. Which is probably why, this time around, expectations

are low. While a depreciating rupee will help exporters, including pharmaceutical and IT firms, capital goods firms will be in deep trouble, with orders down to a trickle and existing projects moving slowly.

So while a TCS should post a handsome set of numbers, BHEL’s provisional earnings, declared on Saturday, indicated a profit of R3,228 crore in 2013-14 on account of low volumes and challenges in the domestic power sector, as compared to R6,615 crore in 2012-13.

The Street will focus on order inflows in order to gauge whether the capex cycle is turning; BHEL’s order book at the end of the March 2014 quarter stood at just over R1 lakh crore.

Public sector banks’ profits are expected to be bruised due to muted topline growth and also higher slippages and provisioning. The weaker loan offtake in the system at just around 14-15% — the slowest in almost a decade —might also leave the toplines of a few private sector banks subdued.

State Bank of India (SBI), for instance, has indicated it has a fairly large pipeline of restructured loans; net

profits at the country’s biggest lender are estimated to be lower by 24% year-on-year thanks to some depreciation in investments and a higher tax rate, although the net interest income could see a fairly good increase of close to 20% year-on-year.

HDFC Bank might just pull off a 30% year-on-year rise in profits after tax, thanks to better operating leverage. In the energy space, while the oil marketing companies are expected to see a drop in their profits, Reliance Industries (RIL), which will benefit from a weaker rupee, is expected to report a 5% year-on-year increase in net profits on an increase in revenues of 18% year-on-year; gross refining margins are tipped to come in at $9.2 per barrel versus $7.6 per barrel in the third quarter of FY14 and $10.1 per barrel in the fourth quarter of FY13.

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