L&T consolidated Q3 PAT at Rs 2,467 crore, up 5% YoY on lower expenses

The company’s consolidated EBITDA margin in the December quarter was at 12 percent, up 60 basis point from preceding quarter.
Larsen & Toubro (L&T) reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 2,467 crore in the December quarter, up nearly 5 per cent from same period last year as lower expenses lent some support to the bottomline even as revenues were a tad muted.

Higher profit was also attributed to increased profits from IT & TS segment and sale of commercial property in realty. Bottomline also includes gain on divestment of Rs 209 crore from discontinued operations for the quarter ended December, said the company in its release.

The gain of divestment includes sale of the electrical and automation business to Schneider Electric SE and sale of the UK based Marine control & automation systems subsidiary to Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG, it said.

Consolidated net sales in the period under review stood at Rs 35,596 crore, down marginally by 1.78 percent from December quarter last year.
“There has been a remarkable improvement in the business sentiment at the industry level. Our revenues though slightly down in the December quarter from same period last year were near to pre-Covid levels,” Shankar Raman, chief executive officer at L&T said at the earnings conference call today.

Meanwhile, the total expenses incurred by the company in the quarter gone by stood at Rs 32, 981 crore as against Rs 33,488 crore in the same period last year. This was down nearly 2 percent on year-on-year basis.

“Changed delivery model, work from home option and fall in travel costs among others helped the company lower expenses in the quarter,” informed Raman.

During the quarter the company was awarded the biggest engineering, procurementand construction (EPC) contract in the country and first of its kind - High Speed Rail order.

With this, the Group order inflow for the quarter ended December 31, 2020 registered a growth of 76 percent over the corresponding quarter of the previous year and stood at Rs 73,233 crore.

International orders during the quarter constituted 14 percent of the total order inflow. On a cumulative basis, the order inflow for the nine months period ended December 31, 2020 stood at Rs 124,846 crore.

Alongside, the consolidated order book of the Group stood at a record high level of Rs 331,061 crore as at December 31, 2020, registering a growth of 9 percent over the March’20 level. The international orders constitute 20 percent of the total order book.

Despite a strong order book, the management refrained from giving any guidance on order flow for the coming quarters.

Though the overall order book of the company looked strong, the management informed that nearly 90-95 percent of its orders were government projects (state and central) as private capex continues to remain subdued amid ongoing pandemic.

“Within the business segments, thermal power and high end real estate orders have seen no uptick,” informed Raman.

Though, the company remains optimistic about catching up on revenues in coming quarters, making up for first four months lost due to Covid-19, the management informed that headwinds around project execution continues amid a lot of covid-care measure that is impacting productivity.

“The supply chain just coming back as it took some time to adjust to the knocks it got during pandemic. At our end, we are trading with caution in the current situation,” informed the management.

On the labour availability front, the management informed that though labour remobilisation is picking up since people left abruptly, skill mix has been different now compared to pre-covid time. This is also expected to hurt productivity but the company, within the next couple of quarters plans to redistribute the skills in an effort to push up the productivity.

Alongside, in an effort to strengthen its balance sheet, the company will continue its divestment efforts going ahead along with the debt reduction plan and reduction of working capital requirement.

“As part of cash conservation effort, the company was able to reduce its working capital requirement by about Rs 1,000 crore in the December quarter,” Raman informed.
The company’s consolidated EBITDA margin in the December quarter was at 12 percent, up 60 basis point from preceding quarter.

In segment wise businesses, the company’s infrastructure garnered the highest revenue of Rs 15,973 crore in the December quarter but was down 7 percent from same period last year. This was followed IT&Technology Service, where revenue stood at Rs 6,530 crore in the period under review, up 6.6 percent from corresponding period last year.

“Our IT & Technology Services segment bounced back extremely well during the pandemic as digital thrust moved up significantly,” informed the management.

Infrastructure Segment secured orders of Rs 45,574 crore, during the quarter ended December, up 80 percent on year-on-year basis, with receipt of two marquee orders of High Speed Rail, said the company release. International orders in this segment constituted 7 percent of the total order inflow.

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