Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Apr 03, 2002
Corporate - Outlook
Rahul Bajaj bullish on bottomline growth
PUNE, April 2
THE Munjals may have stolen the thunder by walking away with the honour of being not just the country's largest two-wheeler manufacturer, but also the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer now, but Hamara Bajaj is not about to give up the race.
The Bajaj Auto Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Rahul Bajaj, told Business Line on Tuesday the company's bottomline this year gave much reason for rejoicing.
While Mr Bajaj declined to give even an approximate figure, he did say that the company's profitability in the fiscal just ended surpassed its sales performance.
``Fiscal 2001-2002 has proved to be significantly better than 2000-2001 for Bajaj Auto, with the bottomline looking much better than our topline," he said. "Barring unforeseen incidents, I expect the next fiscal to be even better than the year just ended. Sales and other income in 2001-2002 have crossed the Rs 4,000-crore mark," he said.
Mr Bajaj attributed the company's significantly improved performance primarily to the spurt in its motorcycle sales, but said overall performance was affected because of its other products in the scooter and three-wheeler segments. "Our motorcycle sales have been better than most in the fiscal just ended,'' he pointed out.
He said profitability also rose due to its continuous focus on reduction in costs. "Our operating margins are now better due to lower costs and larger volumes,'' he said, pointing out, however, that recurring, non-operating income had been continuously going down due to falling interest rates, its share buyback spends and "selling of equities at a loss". "In the long run, however, what matters is that the bottomline is healthy," he said.
The company would make investments of over Rs 200 crore in fiscal 2002-03 primarily to step up production of motorcycles at Waluj plant, increase capacities for the Pulsar model at Chakan plant and in tooling and dies for new models being planned, Mr Bajaj said.
The company had, meanwhile, decided not to go ahead with its much-talked about plans in China.
"We continue to look at China but not with as much enthusiasm as before," he said, adding that there were no plans to either export to the China market or importing from there in 2002-2003. "In the long-term, however, a relationship with China remains a possibility,'' he said.
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