Update on Indian Equity Market:
On Monday, NIFTY ended at 17,397 (-1.07%). Among the sectoral indices, FMCG (+0.9%) was the only sector that ended higher, whereas Metal (-6.6%), PSU Bank (-4.2%), and Realty (-2.10%) ended lower. Among the stocks HUL (+2.9%), Bajaj Finserv (+1.1%), and ITC (+0.8%) led the gainers while Tata Steel (-10%), JSW Steel (-7.7%), and Hindalco (-6.1%) led the losers.
Excerpts of an interview with Mr. Venkatraman Narayanan (MD & CFO) and Mr. Joseph Anantharaju (Executive VC) with CNBC TV18 on 17th September 2021:
- The demand scenario has only got better from where they are at the end of the first quarter. Things are looking very well for customer additions and the growth of existing customers. So, demand is looking good.
- On the supply side they said, the supply situation is not as good, but they are managing to hold on with employee net additions of about 300 in the first quarter. They are trying to keep similar numbers for the next three to four quarters.
- Most verticals that they are operating in seem to be showing strong demand growth with customers initiating or implementing digital transformation initiatives. A few of them should be a little ahead or having spent more, like edutech which continues to be strong for them. In high tech and retail they are seeing a good spend with the whole e-commerce move. They are seeing some initiatives in digital media as well.
- They further said, in terms of technologies, the cloud is almost a done deal now. Most of their clients are operating on the cloud, and a lot of work is happening around leveraging artificial intelligence and analytics.
- One thing they have noticed in the last few months is that more clients are looking at more automation. They have seen a strong uptick in automation as well, from a technology angle.
- On attrition, they said things are going to get a little bit worse and then start improving. As there is always a slow build-up when it comes to attrition. People move out looking for new opportunities but the company keeps adding and backfilling the opened positions.
- So demand was increasing but along with supply-side affected due to high attrition rate that’s why it is likely to get worse. The attrition rate was 15% in last quarter it will increase and then they will stabilise it over some time.
- On margins, they said the sustainable margins should be in the range of about 22% to 24%.
Asset Multiplier Comments
- The IT sector is witnessing a high attrition and there is a talent war among the competitors, which might affect the margins. The companies are trying to decrease the attrition rates which might help in margin expansion in the medium term.
- Happiest Minds is seeing healthy demand and is targeting industry leading growth in the medium to long term.
- The company also has a strong demand growth in verticals that they are operating.
Consensus Estimate: (Source: market screener website)
- The closing price of Happiest Minds was ₹ 1,491/- as on 20-Sept-2021. It traded at 113x/ 90x/ 78x the consensus EPS estimate of ₹ 13.2/ ₹16.5/ ₹19.1 for FY22E/FY23E/FY24E respectively.
- The consensus target price of ₹ 1,155/- implies a PE multiple of 60x on FY24E EPS of ₹19.1/-
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