Despite selling fewer vehicles, the company reported a profitable quarter with net profit and sales both increasing as it focuses more on high margin business
Bajaj Auto Ltd, the country’s second largest two-wheeler maker reported a 13% higher net profit during the second quarter on robust operating margins. The company claimed that this is its highest ever net profit earned during a quarter.
For the quarter to end-September, the Bajaj group company said its net profit rose to Rs837 crore from Rs741 crore while total revenues, including sales, increased to Rs5,062 crore from Rs4,817 crore, same quarter last year. Its operating profit stood at 20% during the second quarter.
According to the automaker, its operating margins are nearly three times the average operating margins of the auto industry and nearly double the operating margins of the nearest competitor.
The results were driven by improvement in international business, favourable rupee, focus on higher margin products and variable cost structure to weather downturns. It said, 75% of its total revenues are generated by business verticals which operate on EBITDA margins in excess of 20%. Bajaj Auto operates on an essentially variable cost structure. Fixed cost, including depreciation, interest and even employee cost, is under 8%. Bajaj Auto declared an all-time high operating EBITDA margin of 23.1% in Q2FY14 as against 18.7% in Q2FY13.
The company sold 8% fewer vehicles at 9.61 lakh units during the quarter when compared to a higher 10.5 lakh units for the September 2012 quarter.
As on 30th June 2013, surplus cash and cash equivalents stood at Rs6,391 crore.
On Tuesday, Bajaj Auto closed marginally down at Rs2,124 on the BSE, while the 30-share benchmark also ended marginally lower at 20,547.
All ministries and departments are asked to avoid using service of travel agents to book tickets unless in exceptional condition
The Finance Ministry has asked all ministries and departments to buy air tickets directly from Air India counters or the official web site of the state-run carrier to save on payment of commission to agents.
In a circular, it said, “All Ministries/Departments are again advised that, as far as possible, air tickets on government account may be obtained directly from Air India/Airlines (booking counters/offices/website)”.
However, it said, if it is not possible to obtain tickets directly from Air India or Airlines counters, they may obtain the services of three authorised travel agents — Balmer Lawrie & Company, Ashok Travels & Tours and Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC).
The state-run travel agents are allowed to levy facilitation fee of Rs100 per ticket for domestic sector and Rs300 per ticket for international sector to book tickets on behalf of the government.
Earlier, the Ministry had asked all the government departments not to pay agency commission or charges to Balmer Lawrie & Company in their bills till a final decision is taken in the matter, it said.
The move is part of the government’s austerity measure to restrict the fiscal deficit to the budgeted figure of 4.8% of GDP in 2013-14.
The Finance Ministry had earlier also directed that the size of delegations going abroad should be kept at “absolute minimum”.
The government has been employing austerity measures since 2008-09. These measures had helped the Government contain the fiscal deficit at 4.9% of GDP in the previous financial year, against the budgeted target of 5.1%.
The government has also put a freeze on fresh appointments, banning holding of its conferences in 5-star hotels and barring officials from executive class air travel so as to check fiscal deficit from going out of control.
Arbitrary hikes in data and call charges are frequent and not limited to just one mobile operator. How does TRAI allow such practices? Why no action is initiated against these telecom companies?
On 10th October, I recharged my Idea mobile (prepaid) by paying Rs125 for a 1GB data package of 30 days. I did this on the basis of unstructured supplementary service data (USSD- a global system used by GSM operators sending text in real time) messages and after checking Idea Cellular’s website. To my shock, I received just 525MB of data. Even the confirmation SMS said that the recharge was for 525MB only instead of 1GB as had been repeated in the USSD code and even on Idea's website.(see the images below)
I immediately raised this issue with Idea Cellular officials on the same day. However, there was no response. On 12th October, I sent an email to a very senior official of the Aditya Birla group pointing out the malpractice. Still there was no reply.
Finally, on 15th October, I sent a reminder to the senior official stating that I am planning to report the whole episode and how Idea was 'duping' its own subscriber. Till the time of writing this report, there is no acknowledgement from either Idea or Aditya Birla group.
Meanwhile, replying to my tweet, Idea asked me to provide my mobile number through direct messaging (DM). On 11th October, I provided them my number. However, there was another shock waiting for me. On 14th October, @Ideacellular replied to my tweet saying that "as per your telecon with our customer service associate on 14th October 2013, we wish to affirm that your aforesaid concern has been discussed. For further assistance, kindly contact our Idea customer care helpline."
I never received any call from Idea and yet the mobile operator was bold enough to tweet it.
On 15th October, I received a call from Ms Veronica, an official from Idea saying that they have 'decided' to provide me 1GB of data as a 'one time exception'. When I asked about the tweet message regarding contacting me, she claimed the call was made and some lady, who answered it, was not aware about either Twitter or any message.
It finally become evident that the Idea representative who handles complaints on Twitter made some mistake, while noting down my mobile number, and subsequently, the call was made to a wrong person! Ms Veronica accepted it only when I mailed her screen image of my DM on Twitter.
From Ms Veronica I came to know that Idea increased its data charges from 8th October. However, the same information was not fully updated either on Idea’s USSD system or on its website. Even as on today, Idea website showed Rs125 for 525MB and Rs154 for 1GB as not available in Mumbai circle (wireless internet prepaid plan).
While the Idea representative promised me to give 1GB data as per my recharge value, I am yet to receive the confirmation. The USSD message that keep appearing on my mobile, continues to show reduced data value. In the meanwhile, Idea, however, has updated the data pack message to Rs154 for 1GB.
According to a report from Economic Times, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have significantly raised rentals of 2G data plans over the past week, as they try to improve sales numbers and margins in this fiercely competitive sector.
"Airtel's Delhi and Mumbai customers will now get only 525 MB of free data when they pay Rs125 for a 2G data plan while 1GB data will be available for Rs154. Idea and Vodafone also have made similar changes in their data plans," the report says.
As a service provider, Idea is free to decide its charges provided that the same is conveyed to its subscribers well in advance. Take for example, Indian Railways that provides rail services inform all commuters well in advance the hike in its tariffs. The same is applicable for every other service provider, except may be mobile operators.
Therefore the question is how come only mobile operators increase tariffs as per their whims and fancies? How come telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) or the Department of Telecom (DoT) allows such an arbitrary tariff hike by mobile operators? Will there be any action against such acts or mobile subscribers should continue to suffer at the hands of operators?