Business cannot take priority over the safety of people- Mr Pawan Goenka, MD, Mahindra & Mahindra

Business cannot take priority over the safety of people- Mr Pawan Goenka, MD, Mahindra & Mahindra

Update on the Indian Equity Market:

On Tuesday night, PM Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown for the next 21 days to fight against the spread of Covid-19. On Wednesday, NIFTY continued gains for the 2nd day and ended at 8,318 (+6.6%). This rally might be in the expectation that an economic package to counter economic disruptions might be announced soon.

Among the sectoral indices, Financials gained the most while no sector index ended negatively. FIN SERV (+9.7%), PVT BANK (+8.5%) and BANK (+8.4%), AUTO (+4.3%) were the top gainers. Out of the NIFTY50 stocks, RELIANCE (+13.8%), HDFCBANK (+12.4%) and KOTAKBANK (+11.9%) rallied the most. INDUSINDBK (-3.3%), IOC (-3.1%) and COALINDIA (-2.8%)  were among the few stocks that ended in red.

Business cannot take priority over the safety of people- Mr Pawan Goenka, MD, Mahindra & Mahindra

Edited excerpts of an interview with Mr Pawan Goenka, Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra; dated 23rd March 2020. The interview aired on CNBC-TV18.

  • As a contribution to tackling the Covid-19 crisis, the Mahindra Group has taken certain steps. The Group has started work on how their manufacturing facilities can be used to make ventilators. They have put their projects team on standby to assist the government or the army in erecting temporary care facilities. In addition, Mahindra Holidays will offer their resorts as temporary care facilities.
  • The foremost consideration is given to the well-being of the group’s employees. Plants in Nagpur, Kandivali and Chakan have already shut down. Over the next few days, most plants will be shut down.
  • No one is in a mood to buy cars right now. Dealerships are also shutting down due to lockdowns. The automotive business is slowing down. Tractor business is also slowing down, although not to the same extent.
  • Mahindra Group is playing it by the day as things are very dynamic. It is difficult to predict how long the shutdown will last. If lockdown lasts only until 31st March, the business that has slowed down will come back in the next 2-3 months. If lockdown lasts longer than 31st March, the comeback will take much longer.
  • Need for tractors in agriculture cannot disappear. The tractor buying peaks in May-June period. If Mahindra does not miss out this season, then the tractor business will be fine. However, to tap that season, production will have to take place in April. But in the current scenario, the business will not take priority over the safety of the Group’s people and communities.
  • For the auto and tractor business point of view, the foremost responsibility of the company is to make payments to its suppliers and low wage earners-especially the contract workers and daily wage workers.
  • Mahindra Finance is closely watching the concern of liquidity in the market. There is a concern of EMI payments not happening but that will not happen immediately. The farmers have probably already received revenue from the previous cycle and so there might not be an issue.
  • The big unknown from the perspective of Mahindra Financial is what will happen to the financial cycle, i.e money coming into the NBFC from both borrowings and EMI payments. It is very important to get that cycle going. But right now, the sales pull will also be less hence the demand for financing will be less.
  • The group has an advantage in terms of business diversification.
  • Mr Goenka is of the opinion that although the Government is also under pressure and we should not expect too much, the government has to step in at this point. Mr Goenka has mentioned three things that he expects from the government at this point:
  1. For the auto industry, the immediate issue is the 31st March deadline to liquidate BS-IV inventory. It is not in the hands of the Government as it’s a supreme court matter. Mr Goenka is hoping that the court extends the deadline and gives extra time to liquidate the BS-IV vehicles. As no OEM is manufacturing BS-IV vehicles any longer, there is no problem of excessive dumping of those vehicles.
  2. The second area where Government intervention is needed is to help in the liquidity situation. If a moratorium of say 3 months is imposed on recognition of EMI non-payment as NPAs, NBFCs will be able to have a bit of a breathing room. The government needs to ensure that the financial cycle does not break down because it will take a long time to repair if broken.
  3. Thirdly, the Government must not delay any payments due to the industry as right now the industry needs funds.

Consensus Estimate: (Source: market screener, websites)

  • The closing price of M&M was ₹ 274/- as of 25-March-2020. It traded at 7.2x/ 7.7x/ 6.7x the consensus EPS estimate of ₹ 38.3/ 35.4/ 40.6 for FY20E/ FY21E/ FY22E respectively.
  • The consensus target price of ₹ 651/- implies a PE multiple of 16.0x on FY22E EPS of ₹ 40.6/-

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