India’s Hero MotoCorp Q2 profit beats expectations

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India’s Hero MotoCorp on Wednesday beat second-quarter profit expectations, as lower commodity costs and price hikes helped offset muted sales.

Hero’s standalone profit after tax rose 47.2% to 10.54 billion rupees ($126.6 million) in the July-September quarter, beating analysts’ average expectation of 9.69 billion rupees as per LSEG data.

The New Delhi-based company’s results are in line with that of rivals Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor, whose profits also topped estimates.

Two-wheeler makers reported a 1.6% fall in September quarter sales, dragged by muted demand for entry-level models, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

However, Hero and its rivals relied on price hikes and lower costs of key commodities like steel to boost margins.

Hero’s quarterly expenses rose a modest 1% while input costs inched down 0.2%. Revenue grew over 4% to 94.45 billion rupees.

The company’s shares have risen nearly 13% this year, underperforming the Nifty Auto index’s 25.7% rise. They closed up 0.1% before the results. ($1 = 83.2900 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Nandan Mandayam and Varun Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Mrigank Dhaniwala)