Godrej Consumer confident of ramping up production when required says CEO GambhirNeha Kshirsagar
Update on the Indian Equity Market:
On Friday, NIFTY closed 2.6% lower at 10980 because of the coronavirus scare and the Yes Bank crisis. RBI’s action of seizing control of Yes Bank and the possible consequences on the financial system weakened the market sentiments. The top losers for the day were Yes Bank (-54.9%), Tata Motors (-9.5%) and Zee (-7.3%). The few gaining stocks included Bajaj Auto (1.5%), GAIL (0.8%) and Maruti (0.4%). All the sectors were in the red. The top losing sectors were Nifty PSU bank (-5.3%), Nifty Media (-4.8%) and Nifty Metal (-4.4%).
Excerpts from an interview of Mr. Vivek Gambhir, Managing Director and CEO, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd published in Live Mint dated 06th March 2020:
- The surge in demand for hand sanitizers and soaps in the wake of fears of the COVID-19 epidemic will not have any significant impact on earnings for GCPL since it constitutes a small business segment.
- The rabi harvest has been good and the demand from the rural market is expected to start picking up in the next one or two quarters.
- The market is seeing a temporary demand in hand soaps, hand sanitizers, small soaps, and handwashes as well. GCPL has enough production capacity and will be ramping up the same to fulfill the demand.
- According to Mr. Gambhir, the Company will definitely see some temporary spikes in demand mainly in April- May timeframe.
- GCPL is rolling out some new digital campaigns to educate consumers about the coronavirus and what they can do to protect themselves.
- The hand sanitizers and Rs 10 soaps are around 30% of the entire soap segment for the company. The company will see an uptick in demand but will not be material enough at this stage.
- In regard to ramping up the production capacity, Mr. Gambhir said that they have enough production capacity to meet the increased demand and don’t see any challenges in meeting those demands. GCPL is also seeing some request for export orders from other parts of the world but these are relatively small numbers and won’t be material.
- For the soap business in India, GCPL has seen strong volume growth in Q3 and has continued to gain market share in both their brands Godrej No 1 and Cinthol. There has been some value degrowth in this particular segment but the imbalance between volumes and value is expected to be corrected over the next couple of quarters. GCPL has taken a 5% hike in soap prices given some of the increases in palm oil derivatives. The Company will evaluate if there is a need for further increase in prices. With some price increases, the Company will be able to drive a better balance between volume growth and value growth. At the same time GCPL is intensifying some of its cost reduction programs and is hoping to maintain the margins. However, if it is required to take a dip in the margins for a quarter or two to drive the volumes, they are prepared for it. Next year, the Company is expecting a better performance from both India and international business and on the margin front, they hope to sustain the levels if not improving.
- FMCG sector has been experiencing challenges over the last few quarters with regards to a weakening consumer sentiment, sagging rural demand and liquidity pressures in the channel still continue.
- GCPL expectation is that over the next one-two quarters, the industry will start seeing a recovery in demand particularly led by the rural sector which has been a big cause of concern.
- The rural sector has been growing at 0.5x the growth rate which was 1.2x or 1.3x a few quarters ago. The deterioration in growth has been significantly fair. Recently there has been some gradual recovery because the rabi crops have been good. The rural inflation also augurs well for rural consumers. It is putting more money in the hands of farmers.
Consensus Estimate: (Source: market screener website)
- The closing price of Godrej Consumer Product Ltd was ₹ 640/- as of 06-March-2020. It traded at 41x/ 35x/ 32x the consensus earnings estimate of ₹ 15.6/18.1/20.0 for FY20E/FY21E/FY22E respectively.
- The consensus target price is ₹ 754/- which implies a PE multiple of 38x on FY22E EPS of ₹ 20.0/-.