ABB India’s surge in orders may underpin high valuations
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ABB India Ltd has earned favour in the eyes of investors with the capital goods maker churning out a decent operating performance for the December quarter along with robust growth in new orders.
The December quarter’s fresh order pool of Rs5,628 crore was a record 173% higher than a year ago. With this, ABB India’s order book at the end of 2016 is at a historic high of Rs11,841 crore. This leaves the company in a comfortable position with more than 12 months’ revenue visibility.
Interestingly, the quarter’s revenue growth was just 2.7% year-on-year. What’s important, however, is that most of its business divisions have grown respectably from where they stood a year ago. The discrete automation and electrification products divisions’ revenue grew by about 9-10%, the power grids segment was flat and only that of the process automation division declined.
Further, ABB India’s profit margin continued the upward trajectory of the last few quarters into the December quarter. The operating margin of 11.3% was about 50 basis points higher than a year back even as it shot past the Street expectation of 9.9%. Operating profit, therefore, expanded by 7.2% year-on-year, with discrete automation and electrification products being the best contributors of profit to the kitty.
The better-than-expected performance also extended to ABB India’s net profit that jumped by 13.4% from the year-ago period.
The company’s tightly managed costs and robust order book should see both revenue and profits trend higher from current levels. Of course, ABB India’s shares trade at expensive valuations of 49 times average estimated earnings for calendar year 2017.
But then, the times are surely getting better for the company, what with its presence in power transmission, railways and Metros, besides other infra segments—all of which are northbound in the medium term. This gives ABB India an edge compared to some of its peers, who have a higher exposure to the private sector, which may take longer to look up.