Sunday, January 22, 2012

>HERO MOTO CORP: “Margins weak, maintain Neutral”

Volume expansion and price hikes leads to strong revenue growth
Hero MotoCorp has reported 11% yoy volume growth in Q3 FY12 and had taken a price hike of ~Rs700-1000 per vehicle in October resulting into 17% yoy and 4% qoq growth to Rs60.3 bn. The company has been consistently putting up a strong show by selling ~5.3-5.4 lakh units per month and has won ~2% market share in the quarter. Going forward, with domestic motorcycle industry showing signs of weakening, we expect Hero to feel the heat in the wake of strong competition from Honda, which is aggressively expanding its capacities. With three new launches expected this year from Hero in the form of 110cc Passion XPro, Ignitor 125cc and a scooter Maestro, and the recent launch of Impulse, we slightly increase our FY12E/FY13E volume expectations at 15%/10% respectively from 14%/9%. We do not see a significant scope for realizations to grow in wake of competition as market share retention will be the main aim.

Margins below our expectations as staff cost rise & rupee depreciates 
In spite of commodity prices going down, Hero was unable to fetch the benefits of the same in this quarter, as rupee has depreciated significantly vis-à-vis Japanese yen. Since Hero imports ~17% of RM from Japan, this impact was felt a bit too much. Also, employee costs increased 11% qoq, due to wage hike taken in August getting reflected in this quarter. Excluding royalty, margins came in at 15.6%. However, we consider royalty in other expenses, due to which our EBITDA margins came in at 11.9% considering royalty outgo of Rs2280 mn which has increased over the previous quarters due to yen appreciation. Margins have come below our expectations. Going forward, we expect HMCL to post improving margins of 12.1%/13.2% in FY12E/13E as commodity prices start showing their impact as rupee has started showing some strength vis-à-vis foreign currencies.

Outlook and valuation
In view of good show in the domestic markets and increasing the market share, we have slightly increased our volume estimates. We believe new launches also will support the domestic growth of Hero. However, rapid expansion of Honda and overall slowdown in the 2wheeler market will arrest a strong growth in market share, due to which we believe the volumes will not grow above 10% in FY13E. On margin front, we are maintaining our margin estimates as we believe FY 13 will show margin improvement of up to 100bps as raw material prices are slowing down, but at the same time, low price new launches will lead to an adverse product mix, thus capping realization growth. We value the stock at 14x times FY 13E EPS of Rs142.5, due to its market leadership position and domestic strength. Due to expectations of slightly better domestic volume performance, we are increasing our target price to Rs 1996. At CMP of Rs1945 we see a very limited upside of 3%, due to which we reiterate our Neutral rating on the stock.