Commenting on the recent denial from Sebi on L&T’s `9,000-crore buyback proposal, SN Subrahmanyan, chief executive officer and managing director, said: “I felt the Sebi order on the buyback proposal was a bit harsh.
On the back of a strong execution momentum in project businesses and a robust performance in the services segment, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) on Friday beat analyst expectations on all fronts for the three months ended December 31, 2018.
The heavy engineering and infrastructure major reported a 37% year-on-year jump in its consolidated net profit to `2,042 crore, while the revenue from operations surged 24% y-o-y to `35,709 crore.
Strong performance by services and realty segment led to a 27% y-o-y growth in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) to `4,000 crore. Consequently, the EBITDA margins expanded by 30 basis points to 11.2%.
However, the company’s fresh order intake declined 12% y-o-y to `42,200 crore due to deferment of award of projects in transportation infrastructure, heavy civil infrastructure and power businesses, leading to delays.
Speaking at the earnings conference,
R Shankar Raman, chief financial officer, attributed the fall in order inflows to the dip in domestic order intake during the quarter. “We were able to grow our order book, and were able to grow our revenues significantly. We were also able to grow our Ebitda margins very well and consequently our PAT also grew during the quarter. The only sore point, if at all, is that the incremental orders that we were to pick up in Q3 declined,” he said.
Raman said there was a 22% decline in domestic orders in Q3. “Last year in Q3, there was a strong surge of domestic orders, and actually last year it was only in Q3 and Q4 that the order inflow warmed up and picked up pace,” he said.
The domestic order inflow declined from `39,400 crore to `30,700 crore. In the previous quarter, Raman had hoped for sustenance of pace in domestic orders which had gathered momentum towards the end of last year. He said the order momentum is going to remain dull towards the end of this financial year and the beginning of Q1 FY20 due to general elections.
However, at a nine-month level, the company registered a 16% y-o-y growth in the order inflows, which Raman said put the company on a good course to stay within the guidance given. L&T has kept its guidance intact on the order inflow at 10-12% growth over last year and 12-15% growth in revenue.
Infrastructure, hydrocarbon, heavy engineering businesses have largely contributed to the growth in order inflows during the year, while the services sector is also becoming stronger in the company’s portfolio. The segment constituting of IT & technology services constitutes 25% of the company’s revenues for the first nine months of FY19.
Meanwhile, international orders, which had been up and down in the previous two quarters, surprised yet again. International order inflows were up 31% y-o-y, from `8,800 crore to `11,500 crore. This growth, Raman said, came despite the volatile international environment caused by socioeconomic turbulence, the economic sanctions, duty safeguards and geo-political tensions.
The company’s order book increased by 5% y-o-y to `2.84 lakh crore. International order book constituted 21% of the total order book, against 25% as of December 31, 2017.
Commenting on the recent denial from Sebi on L&T’s `9,000-crore buyback proposal, SN Subrahmanyan, chief executive officer and managing director, said: “I felt the Sebi order on the buyback proposal was a bit harsh. There are many ways to go about a matter, on which you don’t agree with your partner. Sebi is the regulator and we will find ways to go about it.”
On January 18, Sebi had rejected the company’s buyback proposal saying since the ratio of the aggregate of secured and unsecured debts owed by the company after buyback (assuming full acceptance) would be more than twice the paid-up capital and free reserves of the company based on consolidated financial statements, the buyback offer is not in compliance with the Companies Act and Sebi norms.