M&M Q4: Farm equipment unit provides the heft

Mahindra and Mahindra’s 2.4-per cent growth in standalone revenues to ₹12,012 crore in the quarter ended March 2017 was predominantly supported by the farm equipment division.

While automobile segment revenues at best remained flat during the quarter (over the same period last year), the farm equipment segment, which contributes to about one-fourth of the company’s topline, posted a 15 per cent growth in revenue.

Even as volumes in the auto segment plunged in January and February and managed only single digit growth in March, farm equipment unit recorded 6-32 per cent growth. The company has seen steady pick-up in tractor sales after the sharp plunge in volumes in November 2016 following the demonetisation announcement. This was helped by a good Rabi crop and government thrust on rural and agriculture sectors in the Budget. Topline growth for the company could have been slightly better had it not taken a ₹171-crore hit due to discount sale of BS III vehicles towards the end of the quarter.

Despite lacklustre topline growth and pressure on the operating margin, the company managed a 20 per cent growth in net profit to ₹725 crore. It was helped by a 170 per cent increase in other income to ₹308 crore. Besides, it also made an exceptional gain of ₹94 crore on the sale of long-term investments. Adjusting for this, profit growth came in at 5.5 per cent over the March 2016 quarter.

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