Corporate India is showing clear signs of a bounce-back to profits after a year of downturn, but the stock market is still sceptical in the backdrop of market volatility caused by global uncertainties. And there are emerging worries on rising input costs and the chances of an interest rate hike.
An analysis of 550 companies with a market capitalisation in excess of Rs. 50 crore that had announced their January-March quarter results by May 13 shows revenues in the quarter grew by 31 per cent and profits by 29 per cent over the year-ago period. For most firms, this was the fourth quarter.
In the same quarter of 2008-09, revenues had grown by only 5.2 per cent while profits had shrunk by 0.7 per cent as industry coped with a crippling demand crunch revived later by stimulus measures announced by the government.
Profits for the companies listed on the National Stock Exchange rose from Rs 34,488 crore in the quarter ended March 2009 to Rs 44,554 crore in the latest quarter. Revenues surged from Rs 336,223 crore to Rs 433,437 crore over the same period.
In Q4 2009-10, large companies (with a market capitalisation of over Rs 10,000 crore) managed to generate a strong 38 per cent growth in their revenues and showed a healthy profit growth of 27 per cent.
Mid-cap companies (with a Rs 2,500 crore-Rs 10,000 crore market cap range) lagged during the quarter as their revenues and profits grew by 15 per cent and 8 per cent respectively. "Rise in oil and metal prices may reduce the margins (ahead)," said Alex Mathews, head of research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.
Smaller cap companies with a value of Rs 2,500 crore or less saw revenues and profits grow 29 per cent and 98 per cent, respectively. "Small caps witnessed the maximum impact in the slowdown in fiscal 2009 and hence the strong revival," said the head of a mutual fund on condition of anonymity.