Car industry leader Marti Dog Ltd (MUL) on Monday posted a net profit of Rest 376.41 core for the third quarter of the current fiscal year, up 11 per cent over Rest 339 core in the same October-December quarter of 2005.
The result was below market expectations but as a result of an extraordinary item in the form of a loss in a subsidiary but its shares rose on expectations of higher profitability.
The result takes into account a loss of Rs 54.61 crore Maruti Suzuki Automobiles India Ltd (MSAIL), which was merged with Maruti from April 1 last year. The merger was approved during the October-December quarter.
Maruti's shares closed 3.1 per cent at 938.6 rupees on hopes of weaker metal prices and higher car prices which are expected to ease the pressure on earnings.
Maruti's operating margins fell by 115 basis points on the year to 13.8 percent, while raw material costs rose 3 per cent.
Maruti, which holds about 50 per cent of the country's market, will roll out its first 1.3-litre diesel car shortly and start production at a new plant with an annual capacity of up to 250,000 units.
The company's total income (net of excise) stood to Rs 3,807.90 crore during October-December 2006, a growth of 18.30 per cent compared to the same quarter of 2005-06.
Vehicle sales during the quarter grew by 18.70 per cent at 1, 72,181 vehicles, including 9,073 units in exports, the company said in a statement.
For the nine-month period (April-December) of the current financial year, net profit stood at Rs 1,113.42 crore, up 34.45 per cent over April-December 2005.
Total income (net of excise) stood at Rs 10,617.56 crore during the period, a growth of 16.8 per cent over the same period of the previous year, Maruti said.
"The weaker-than-expected numbers are purely because of the subsidiary's loss and depreciation and other charges related to it. The outlook for the coming quarters is good; Reuters quoted Viraaj Teckchandani of ASK-RJ Securities as saying.
A Reuter's poll of analysts had expected Maruti to earn a net profit of Rs 396 crore on revenues of Rs 3,739 crore in the third quarter.
Once a monopoly, Maruti is now facing tough competition, but in a growing market. Annual passenger vehicle sales in the country are expected to nearly double to 2 million units by 2010, with some analysts expecting the milestone to be hit earlier.