Maruti Suzuki readies strategy to deal with coronavirus impact: CV Raman, Maruti Suzuki

Maruti Suzuki readies strategy to deal with coronavirus impact: CV Raman, Maruti Suzuki

Update on the Indian Equity Market:

Markets bounced back strongly to end a highly volatile week and Nifty closed 5.6% higher at 8,284. During the current week, Nifty traded in the range of 7,833 – 9,602, that’s a lot to digest for the investors! Out of fifty stocks from the index, 8 stocks traded above 10% and 31 stocks traded above 5%. ONGC (17.9%), GAIL (15.4%) and INFRATEL (14.9%) were the highest gainers. Five stocks among the index closed lower with INDUSINDBK (-1.4%), HDFCBANK (-1.3%) and ADANIPORTS (-1.1%) were the biggest losers. All the sectoral indices, FMCG (8.8%), IT (8.5%) and METAL (7.7%) led the gains. None of the sectors ended the day in the red.

Excerpts from an interview with Mr CV Raman, Executive Director, Maruti Suzuki published in CNBC TV-18 on 17th March 2020:

  • As Coronavirus is spreading fast across the world, Maruti Suzuki is working on two-pronged strategy to minimize the impact of the pandemic.
  • He said that officials at the company are assessing the impact of the pandemic on sales. The company has started focusing more on digital marketing and delivery of cars from service centres directly to customers. He mentioned that automakers have already reported a 15 per cent de-growth in FY20.
  • About the measures taken to curb the virus, he said that the company has issued advisories to its employees and suppliers. He added that the company is reducing physical contact by doing meetings through video conferencing and reducing visits of suppliers to Maruti’s offices.
  • While several automobile manufacturers have expressed concern about the impact of the disease on supply chains from China and South Korea, Raman said Maruti was in a position to manage supply chains well. He said that most of the tier-1 suppliers are in India and the company is able to get the supplies as per production requirements.
  • The Federation of Automobile Dealers have moved the court seeking a grace period for sell and registration of BS-IV vehicles after March 31 as dealers are saddled with inventory and coronavirus has impacted sales. Individual companies are also considering moving court to seek an extension. He said that for Maruti which began executing its BS-VI transition a year back does not need any intervention at this stage.
  • Introduction of BS-VI standards are set to make diesel vehicles significantly more expensive. Considering the cost implications, the company has stopped production of diesel cars for the moment but hasn’t ruled out a higher capacity diesel engine in future. The company currently has CNG variants in seven models and planning to increase the range of CNG offerings this year.
  • He refused to comment on future products but said that Maruti would be actively participating in the growing SUV segment.

Consensus Estimate: (Source: market screener website and websites)

  • The closing price of Maruti Suzuki was ₹ 5,094/- as of 17-March-2020.  It traded at 25x/ 20x/ 16x the consensus EPS estimate of ₹ 202/ 255/ 314 for FY20E/ FY21E/ FY22E respectively.
  • Consensus average target price for Maruti Suzuki is ₹ 7,246/- which implies a PE multiple of 23x on FY22E EPS of ₹ 314/- .

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