It will be a long road to recovery from Covid-19 – Axis Bank

It will be a long road to recovery from Covid-19 – Axis Bank

Update on the Indian Equity Market:
On Friday, Nifty ended 0.8%, higher than the previous close at 11,655. The top gainers for Nifty 50 were Indusind Bank (+12.1%), Axis Bank (+7.9%), and UPL (+4.7%) while the losing stocks were JSW Steel (-3.0%), Hero MotoCorp (-2.6%) and Dr Reddy (-1.6%). The sectoral gainers for the day were PSU Bank (+5.2%), PVT Bank (+4.7%), and Bank (+4.2%) while the losers were Auto (-0.8%), Metal (-0.4%), and FMCG (-0.2%).

Edited excerpts of an interview with Mr Amitabh Chaudhry, MD, Axis Bank; dated 26th August 2020 from Economic Times:

The macro situation has improved quite a bit, but the economy is nowhere out of the woods.
The economy today is operating at 70-75% levels. The recovery remains uneven with a faster rise in supply than demand. The RBI annual report published also suggests that they remain extremely worried about consumer demand and that it would take some time to recover.

India is in a long haul before the economy recovers to pre-COVID levels partly driven by the fact that consumption patterns have been debilitated in many ways. People are conserving cash, and localised lockdowns continue. All this hurts demand and the notion that things are coming back to normal.
Increasingly corporates are saying that things should get better by the third quarter. But, he thinks that the improvement is spotty where recovery is visible in some sectors while some other sectors continue to get hurt quite badly.

Once the customer is assured that they are the fag end of the crisis, things will change dramatically and the economy should revive much faster.

The RBI Governor has been warning banks to be careful with their money, and to raise capital.
The banks have learnt their lesson after the last crisis, they are not going to be out there lending in a hurry. This applies to public sector banks as well.

Government has indicated that once the unlock process continues, they will come back with more support for the economy. The government has to play a very important role.

To revive and support the economy, the Government has categorised into 3 buckets. For the people who need it they are doing the cash hand-outs, the second is supporting MSMEs for incremental lending, and the third category is about long-term reforms. These long-term reforms include working with the RBI to towards refinance schemes, moratorium, and restructuring to support the other sectors of the economy.

Axis Bank will continue to adopt a conservative approach; they will do an intense credit screening before allowing any restructuring and will be much more prudent in provisioning for such loans.

There is a disproportionate restructuring share coming from sectors which are severely impacted due to COVID like airlines, tourism, and real estate. But, there is no sector that would be able to escape this severe economic shock and the vulnerable ones in every sector will need help.
For restructuring in Axis Bank portfolio, one will find loans from practically every sector because there will be some corporates who were in vulnerable state and COVID pushed them into a state where they may need restructuring help.

Lose of job & salary cut will have a bigger impact on the retail portfolio, followed by MSMEs and then wholesale.
Axis Bank is planning several schemes for the festive season and working with various manufacturers to see what they can offer to customers so that they start consuming again.
Max Life deal will add a lot of value on both sides.

Consensus Estimate: (Source: market screener & websites)
The closing price of Axis Bank Ltd was ₹ 510/- as of 28-August-2020. It traded at 1.6x/1.4x/1.3x the consensus Book Value estimates of ₹ 325/359/408 for FY21E/FY22E/23E respectively.

The consensus target price of ₹ 541/- implies a PB multiple of 1.3x on FY23E Book Value of ₹ 408/-.

Disclaimer: “The views expressed are for information purposes only. The information provided herein should not be considered as investment advice or research recommendation. The users should rely on their own research and analysis and should consult their own investment advisors to determine the merit, risks, and suitability of the information provided.”

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