India's Hero MotoCorp posts Q4 profit beat on higher vehicle sales

An employee works on a motorbike inside a Hero MotoCorp service station in New Delhi

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India's Hero MotoCorp Ltd reported a bigger-than-expected 37% rise in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, helped by higher domestic vehicle sales.

The world's largest two-wheeler maker by sales said its profit rose to 8.59 billion rupees ($105.12 million) for the quarter ended March 31, beating analyst expectations of 7.35 billion rupees according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Two-wheeler demand, which had been under stress due to inflationary pressures on Indian households, recovered in the quarter due to festive demand. Additionally, shoppers advanced their purchases ahead of a regulatory change that increased prices from April.

Total vehicles sold in the quarter rose to 1.27 million units from 1.19 million units, a year earlier. Revenue from operations rose nearly 12% to 83.07 billion rupees.

Like other automakers, the company also gained from its recently implemented price hikes. Hero raised vehicle prices four times in fiscal year 2023, the last of which took effect on December 1.

"The company has been able to drive margin expansion and profitable growth this quarter through a judicious combination of pricing, savings, and mix," Niranjan Gupta, chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The company will speed up the roll-out of electric two-wheelers with plans to be in 100 cities within this calendar year, he added.

Shares of the company settled 0.47% higher ahead of the results, while the Nifty auto index ended 0.11% up.

Hero MotoCorp rival TVS Motor Company Ltd reported a nearly 50% jump in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, while Bajaj Auto Ltd reported a 2.5% drop in profit early last week.

($1 = 81.7200 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Nishit Navin in Benagluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)