Looking Overseas

Updated: Jul 15 2003, 05:30am hrs
Exide Industries has a 48 per cent share of the Rs 2,000 crore Indian lead acid battery market. It witnessed an impressive 17.3 per cent increase in net sales to Rs 232.5 crore in the quarter to June 2003, but a sequential fall of 3.3 per cent. The company has done well on an y-o-y basis, but not on a sequential basis, in sales and profit. A similar sequential performance was also seen in the previous year.

Operating profit has increased 13.6 per cent on y-o-y during the latest quarter to Rs 40.3 crore despite 18.3 per cent rise in expenditure to Rs 192.6 crore during the same period. Interestingly, the rise in expenditure has come about inspite of a reduction in import duty on lead, the main raw material for battery industry, to 20 per cent in the latest budget. Interest burden was down by 69 per cent to Rs 3.7 crore but depreciation provision went up 30.97 per cent.

Tax provision has increased by 88.2 per cent to Rs 8 crore. Nevertheless profit after tax increased by 70 per cent cent to Rs 13.9 crore. During the year to March 2003, the company had posted a 66 per cent rise in net profit to Rs 52.3 crore on Rs 1095.3 crore turnover up 11.5 per cent. The company announced a 1:1 bonus. It had also recommended a higher dividend of 40 per cent for 2002-03.

The company caters to both segments, two-wheelers as well as four wheelers, in the country. Yet it is keen on fanning out to overseas market. The company has an arrangement with two companies in the UK and Holland to promote its products in the European market.

In the UK, it has formed a joint venture, Espex, where it holds a 51 per cent stake. It was examining options to increase its presence in China.

It has now also entered into a sourcing agreement with companies in Netherlands and Australia. During May 2003, Icra upgraded the medium-term rating of Exide Industries from MAA+ to MAAA and retained the A1+ short-term rating for its Rs 100 crore commercial paper. Meanwhile, the company is rolling out new initiatives and has introduced three new brands of batteries, each positioned differently in the market.

Veronica Laboratories

About 88 per cent of Veronica Laboratoriess ( VLL) sales of Rs 9.5 crore in the first quarter to June 2003 came from trading activities. The VLL scrip, however, reacted bearishly to last years bad showing as slid to Rs 8.35 currently from Rs 34 on January 2, 2003. Operating profit during the quarter jumped by 96 per cent to Rs 1.14 crore and margins improved from 8.5 per cent to 12 per cent. Net profit rose 169 per cent to Rs 0.8 crore.

VLL is launching an ayurvedic herbal product Herbovera to treat Aids and HIV+ patients. The company has successfully completed clinical trials of its anti-AIDS drug at two prominent hospitals in Mumbai. It has approached non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and government hospitals with a proposal to support the trials.

The company has initiated clinical trials wherein the pregnant HIV+ females will be given its immuno efficiency enhancing drug under medical supervision to check whether the unborn child carried HIV+ virus or not. VLL is in the process of tying up with Pan Pharmaceuticals of Australia to contract manufacture and market Herbovera in Australia. The company is confident of exporting the anti-AIDS drug to Australia and other countries.

Pharmacia of Poland had approached the company for permission to manufacture and market the its branded products Syncold and Veron.

VLL has decided to purchase an industrial unit near Mumbai to convert it into a state-of-the-art WHO-GMP approved pharmaceutical formulation unit. The company has called for tenders from project consultants to complete the project within time frame.

The company will raise the required funds from internal accruals as well as bank loans.

The company is in dialogue with a few banks for the same. The project is likely to go on stream and is expected to be completed by the end of November 2003.