India’s Bajaj Auto reports Q4 profit drop on sluggish exports

BENGALURU/CHENNAI (Reuters) -India’s Bajaj Auto Ltd reported a 2.5% drop in fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday, as exports of its two- and three-wheelers took a hit due to the impact of high inflation in several of its overseas markets.

The company’s profit fell to 14.33 billion Indian rupees ($175 million) for the quarter ended March 31.

High costs of living squeezed demand in key markets for two- and three-wheelers in Latin America and Africa, hurting Indian companies’ exports to the regions.

Exports of two-wheelers and commercial vehicles declined 41% during the quarter for Bajaj, with the company calling it “sluggish”.

“Exports progressively worsened given the deteriorating macros across overseas markets,” Bajaj said in a statement.

Bajaj had said in January that its largest export market, Nigeria, would continue to be “depressed” and “volatile” until elections concluded at the end of February.

Domestic volumes, however, climbed 32% during the reported quarter with its Pulsar portfolio of two-wheelers bolstering sales.

This helped total revenue from operations rise nearly 12% to 89.05 billion rupees.

Separately, the company also said the board had recommended a final dividend of 140 rupees per share.

Bajaj is the first among Indian two-wheeler makers to report its quarterly results. Rivals TVS Motors Ltd and Hero MotoCorp Ltd will both report on May 4.

Bajaj shares closed marginally higher at 4,342.55 rupees, taking its increase to 20% so far this year.

($1 = 81.9330 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Varun Vyas in Bengaluru and Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Janane Venkatraman)