Market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s net profit tumbled by 18.3 per cent in the January-March fourth quarter to Rs 243 crore from the year-ago period, as the car maker struggled to balance market share with volume growth.
But revenues grew by 30.3 per cent in the quarter to Rs 6,538 crore on the back of a 17 per cent growth in sales volume during the period. Net profit had dropped to 54 per cent in the October-December 2008 quarter as well, and its margins are under the most severe pressure since 2001, worsened by exchange rate fluctuations.
Though it beat expectations on growth and revenue, Maruti refused to give a guidance for the current fiscal, citing uncertainty in demand.
Despite the woes, it will invest Rs 1,800 crore in the current fiscal on new model launches, plant upgradation and other activities. In fiscal 2007-08, Maruti had invested Rs 1,600 crore.
“We lost Rs 68 crore in Q4 and Rs 140 crore during the fiscal due to the discounts that we gave to the consumers,” said Mayank Pareek, executive officer, sales and marketing, MSIL. “It has been a dramatic year for the industry so it is not prudent to give projections for this fiscal.”
For the full fiscal 2008-09, one of the worst years in recent memory, net profit fell 29.6 per cent to Rs 1,219 crore while revenues grew 14.3 per cent to Rs 21,454 crore.
Maruti also retained auditor Pricewaterhouse, snuffing out rumours of a change in view of the auditor’s role in the Satyam Computer Services corporate fraud incident.