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India’s Bajaj Auto posts Q1 profit beat on commercial vehicle strength

BENGALURU, July 25 (Reuters) – India’s Bajaj Auto (BAJA.NS) beat expectations on Tuesday, reporting a nearly 42% increase in first-quarter profit on the back of robust demand for its commercial vehicles.

Demand pick-up in rural areas and a prolonged wedding season in the country amid some ease in inflation helped automakers log gains during the quarter.

Profit rose to 16.65 billion Indian rupees ($203.45 million) for the quarter ended June 30, compared with analysts’ expectations of 16.41 billion rupees, according to IBES data from Refinitv.

Sales of commercial vehicles, which include three-wheeler auto-rickshaws and mini pick-up vans, more than doubled in the domestic market, while two-wheeler sales grew 73%.

This helped the Pulsar motorcycle maker book a total revenue increase of nearly 29% to 103.10 billion rupees.

However, exports of two-wheelers and commercial vehicles fell for a second consecutive quarter by around 34% from a year ago, as persisting macroeconomic headwinds affected its overseas markets.

Exports had fallen by 41% in the March quarter, dragging profit growth to 2.5% from 10% a year earlier.

In April, UK-based Triumph Motorcycles tied up with the company to transfer its distribution operations within India to Bajaj Auto, as overseas motorcycle makers began eyeing India’s premium motorcycle market.

Rival TVS Motors (TVSM.NS) also beat expectations on Monday on strong demand, while Hero MotoCorp (HROM.NS), the world’s largest two-wheeler maker by sales, will report on Aug. 10.

Shares of Bajaj Auto traded about 1% down on Tuesday. The stock climbed about 20.8% in the April-June quarter compared to a 23.7% rise in the Nifty auto index (.NIFTYAUTO) and a 10.5% rise in the blue-chip Nifty 50 (.NSEI).

($1 = 81.8375 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Biplob Kumar Das in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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