Graphite India hits two-month low; down 10% in four trading sessions

Shares of graphite electrode manufacturer Graphite India dipped 4% to Rs 765, falling 11% in the past four trading days, after Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) renewed the consent for operation of its electrode plant in Bengaluru for a period up to June 30, 2020, but with the condition to shift the unit from the existing location.

The stock was trading at its lowest level on October 8, 2018. It is nearing to its six-month low market price of Rs 723 on BSE.

Graphite India has underperformed the market by falling 24% from its recent high of Rs 1,009 on November 11, as compared to a 1.5% rise in the S&P BSE Sensex. The stock hit an all-time high of Rs 1,126 on August 14, on BSE in the intra-day trade.

Graphite India on December 17, said the operations to be carried out in the plant are the same as was being done in recent years (except impregnation) and in line with the application made to KSPCB for the consent.

The company said the condition will not have an adverse impact on the production capacity of the graphite electrode division as a whole in the medium and long-term.

The said consent would be placed before the board of directors of the company for its perusal, discussion and directions on the way forward taking into consideration all factors into account, including the fact that test results conducted for stack emissions are all within the stipulated limits.

“This is a small plant (13,000 annual tonne capacity) and working at relatively low utilization (graphitization is the only process currently undertaken at the facility). In a worst case scenario of plant closure (not our base case), we think this would cut a maximum 7% (6,500 tonnes) from production and lower earnings by 6.5%,” analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA-ML) said in October report.

Graphite India is engaged in the manufacturing graphite electrodes, graphite equipment, steel, glass reinforced plastic (GRP) pipes and tanks and generation of hydel power.

Graphite electrode is a key component for electric arc furnaces (EAFs) that turn scrap into steel. Chinese curbs on pollution that was introduced in late-2016 and steel output look set to put EAF on a path of structural growth, while rising competition for needle coke from EV batteries limits production.

In the calendar year 2017 (CY17), Graphite India has outperformed the market by surging 873% as compared to a 28% rise in Sensex. Thus far in CY18, the stock was up 8% against 4% gain in the benchmark index.