Vedanta Q3 PBT at Rs 3,806 cr, up 9.4% on lower costs, exceptional gain

FILE PHOTO: A bird flies past the logo of Vedanta installed on the facade of its headquarters in Mumbai | Photo: Reuters
Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Ltd reported a consolidated profit before tax of Rs 3,806 crore in the December quarter, up 9.4 per cent from same period last year on the back of lowered costs and a small exceptional gain of Rs 168 crore.

Net sales of the company declined 10 per cent on a year-on-year basis to Rs 21,126 crore in the period under review primarily due to lower commodity prices and muted volumes in zinc, oil & gas and copper business, partially offset by exploration cost recovery in oil & gas.

Lower cost of production mainly in aluminium lent firm support to the total expenses of the company in the quarter gone by which declined 15 per cent in December quarter from same period last year.

"Our aluminium business continues to benefit from improved integration and systemic cost improvements. Our cost of production has started to slide and was at $1,691 per tonne in December quarter. We are on track to bring it lower at the target of $1,500 per tonne as in January itself, the aluminium cost of production has fallen below $1,600  already," informed chief executive officer, Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan.

Drop in power and fuel costs also helped lower expenses in turn pushing up operating margins.

“The exceptional item gain is the claim we have made as part of the unsuccessful exploration that has taken place during our oil&gas explorations. This facility provided by the government is indeed encouraging in risk capital,” G.R. Arun Kumar, executive director (Vedanta Ltd) and group chief financial officer said at the earnings concall today.

The company’s consolidated net profit stood at Rs 2,665 crore in December quarter, up 14 per cent from same period last year.

As per Bloomberg estimates, the company’s bottomline was seen at Rs 720 crore, while the topline was expected to be at Rs 20,223 crore in the December quarter.

Vedanta reported an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and ammortisation (EBITDA) at Rs 6,531 crore in the quarter gone by, up 10 per cent from same period last year. The EBITDA margin in the period under review stood at 34 per cent as against 29 per cent in the same period last year.

The company today also announced acquisition of Ferro Alloys Corporation Limited (FACOR) for a total consideration of Rs 280 crore. The acquisition will complement the company’s existing steel business as the vertical integration of ferro manufacturing capabilities has the potential to generate significant efficiencies, said Vedanta in its release.

As on 31 December 2019, company's gross debt was at Rs 58,589 crore, up by Rs 2,691 crore as compared to September 2019. This was mainly due to the increase in temporary borrowing at Zinc India and term debt at Oil & Gas partially offset by debt repayment at Vedanta standalone.

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