India's CEAT reports five-fold jump in Q4 profit on lower raw material costs

(Reuters) -

Indian tyremaker CEAT Ltd reported a more-than-five-fold increase in its fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, aided by low raw material costs and strong domestic demand.

CEAT's consolidated net profit rose to 1.34 billion rupees ($16.40 million) in the three months ended March 31, from 252.5 million rupees a year ago.

Analysts, on average had expected a profit of 908.3 million rupees, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Indian car and bike makers have reported strong domestic growth, which, in turn, has boosted demand for tyre makers. They have also hiked prices that, analysts said, would boost margins.

The Mumbai-based CEAT's revenue rose about 11% to 28.75 billion rupees. Its total expenses rose 5% but the cost of materials consumed fell 6.1%.

That, and the price hikes, helped CEAT's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) margin increase to 13.1% from 7.2% last year.

"On exports, we continue to face pressure as a result of global economic headwinds, largely spurred by the ongoing war and the currency devaluation," Vice Chairman Anant Goenka said in a statement.

However, while wholesale commercial and passenger vehicle sales growth moderated in April, analysts expect demand for replacement tyres would provide cushion to tyremakers including CEAT rivals MRF Ltd, Apollo Tyres Ltd and JK Tyre & Industries Ltd in the coming quarters.

"We have begun to see some recovery in exports and the replacement market, especially in the commercial category. We are hopeful that the coming quarters will see a further uptick in growth," CEAT said.

Earlier this week, MRF Ltd said its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled.

CEAT's shares closed 1.07% higher. The company recommended a final dividend of 12 rupees per share.

($1 = 81.7320 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Manvi Pant in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)