Ultratech Cement on Wednesday reported a 38.55% drop in its Q4FY18 consolidated net profit (after minority interest) to Rs 446.13 crore from Rs 726.09 crore in the same period last year. The sharp decline was a result of a one-time provision for stamp duty of Rs 226 crore besides other exceptional items (totalling Rs 317 crore) and provision write-backs recorded as other income in the two periods. Adjusted for these factors, the profit-before-tax improved to Rs 938 crore from Rs 916 crore, on a year-on-year basis. Revenue from operations rose 34.2% to Rs 9,421 crore in the fourth quarter from Rs 7,020 crore (adjusted for excise) in the same period last fiscal. UltraTech said in a release that the company registered a 31% rise in volumes with a 5% increase in realisations. A combination of these two factors seems to have propelled this growth. Margins, however, came under pressure. Adjusted for exceptional items and other income, EBIDTA margins compressed to 18.9% from 19.32%. In absolute terms, EBIDTA grew by 31% to Rs 1,781 crore from Rs 1,356 crore in the previous fiscal. Commenting on the cost pressures, the company said that the quarter continued to witness an increase in input costs attributable to rise in pet coke and coal prices and the ban on pet coke usage in thermal power plants. According to Bloomberg estimates, analysts had projected the net adjusted income Rs 529.90 crore, whereas revenues were projected Rs 8,700 crore. Adjusted for exceptional items, UltraTech has more than met expectations on both counts, though the margin contraction will be a concern given that realisations have improved. According to a Kotak Institutional Equities report dated April 12, \u201call-India cement prices increased by Rs 5\/bag mom (month-on-month) in April 2018 to Rs 326\/bag, providing much needed momentum to declining cement earnings\u201d. This, along with volume growth and tempering in pet-coke prices, could augur well for UltraTech in FY19.