Most of the auto slowdown is the industry’s making

Most of the auto slowdown is the industry’s making

Dated: 23rd August 2019

Updates on the Indian market:

On Friday, markets closed in the green with BSE Sensex up 0.6% and NSE 50 up 0.8%. This was a reaction to the news that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was planning to hold a press conference after market hours.  The market expects a government intervention to revive the economy. The top gainers among NIFTY 50 stocks were Zee (+6.5%), UPL (+6.2%), Vedanta (+5.7%). Indusind Bank (-1.8%), ITC (-1.5%), Eicher Motors (-0.9%) were among the top NIFTY 50 losers. Among the sectoral indices, Media (+4.2%) and Metal (+3.4%) were the best performers while FMCG (-0.4%) and Private banks (-0.4%) were the worst performers.

Excerpts from an interview with Mr. Rajiv Bajaj- MD, Bajaj Auto published in mint dated 23rd August 2019: Most of the auto slowdown is the industry’s making

·       For the motorcycle industry, the YoY decline in sales is only 5-7%. This cannot be called a crisis. It is part of a normal industry cycle and a check for the robustness of a business model.

·       There are 4 areas where the auto industry has to improve before talking about government stimulus:

o   Industry’s domestic focus: Barring Bajaj Auto (40% revenue from exports) and TVS Motors (20% revenue from exports), other players have a negligible share of exports.  If companies had invested in global markets over the last 10-15 years and increased their exports, a 5-7% decline in one market would not have hurt them as much as it is hurting now.

o   Mediocre products: A lot of auto players are not able to export because their products are mediocre by world-class standards.

o   Innovation in the domestic market

o   Cost structure: Some manufacturers are guilty in terms of imposing very high fixed costs on their dealerships.  This works in good times but becomes a big burden in bad times.

·       Inventories have piled up since September 2018 when the industry was anticipating an extraordinary festive season. The situation is correcting now as nobody can hold BSIV stock for long. Therefore, there is a mismatch between wholesale (OEM to dealers) and retail (dealer to the customer) sales. The mismatch makes it look as if the industry is down by 15%-20% when in reality it is down by 5-7%. A 5%-7% retail decline is not enough for the industry to cry for help.

·       The industry has said there is a need for intervention in dealer/customer financing. Inventory financing should not be a big issue for large companies most of whom are cash-rich. In case of retail consumer financing, for a long time companies using their captive financing arms have shoved products in the hands of customers who didn’t really want to buy. This led to higher bad debts.  So pulling back of credit by some NBFCs is for a good reason.

Consensus Estimate (Source:

·       The stock price of Bajaj Auto is Rs 2,750/- as on 23rd August 2019 and trades at 17.2x/ 15.8x the consensus EPS for FY 20E/21E EPS of Rs 160/ Rs 173 respectively.

·       Consensus target price is Rs 2,686/- valued at 15.5x FY21E EPS of Rs 173.

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