Domestic sales for India’s largest car manufacturer continued to be in an upward trajectory, growing by 14 per cent year on year (with sales of 126,226 units). Even a month-on-month comparison indicates that the volume off-take remained unaffected due to the note ban. Among the factors that helped was festive season demand which was robust in September and October and a significant spill over was seen in November as well.
Also, analysts point out that there have been deliberate efforts to keep the inventory levels low at the dealers’ end and therefore demonetisation
did not impact Maruti
Suzuki much. Another factor which provides comfort is that Maruti
Suzuki caters to a large segment of first-time car buyers, who generously avail credit facilities to fund their purchases.
Finally, as Arun Agarwal of Kotak Securities points out, “Products such as Baleno
have long waiting period and that gives us comfort that volumes won’t dry up as anticipated.”
However he also elaborates that the concern for Maruti
Suzuki in the next two-three months would be converting the footfalls
to showrooms as firm customer orders.
“The challenge for now is getting footfalls
converted into orders and hence there could be some deferment in purchases for a few months. Though it would be temporary, the pent-up demand will return in FY18,” Agarwal cautions. As for investors, analysts feel the impact of demonetisation
was rather overplayed on Maruti
Suzuki’s stock and the recent seven per cent correction should be viewed as a good entry point for the stock.
“While weak discretionary spending could affect Maruti’s earnings in FY17, investors are more likely to value the stock based on its long-term sustainable earnings growth, implying limited impact on valuations,” says Pranoy Kurian of IDBI Capital.
Analysts at Phillip Capital
also have a similar view and recently upgraded their recommendation on Maruti
Suzuki from “neutral” to “buy”. “Sensitivity analysis suggests that the stock price builds in just a five per cent volume over FY16·18, which makes risk·reward highly favourable,” the analysts note in their report.