UPDATE 1-India's Bajaj Auto margin slips in Q3, profit meets estimate

Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:03pm IST

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(Repeats without changes to story text)
    * EBITDA margin falls to 20.1 pct from 21.0 pct y/y
    * Q3 net profit up 3 pct, meets street estimate
    * Shares down as much as 2.7 pct

    Jan 16 (Reuters) - India's Bajaj Auto Ltd saw its
prized profit margin slip in the quarter to December, sending
its shares down despite hitting estimates with a 3 percent rise
in quarterly earnings, as rising costs and a fall in exports
crimped earnings.
    Bajaj, India's second largest motorcycle manufacturer by
sales volume, saw its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation and amortisation) margin - trumpeted as the best in
the industry - fall to 20.1 percent from 21.0 percent in the
same quarter a year ago, as lucrative export sales slipped 2
percent.
    Shares in the automaker, also the world's largest
manufacturer of motorised three-wheeled vehicles, fell as much
as 2.7 percent after the results were released.
    "In other international markets (excluding Africa), demand
remained subdued," Bajaj said in a statement.
    In India, where Bajaj sells around 70 percent of its
motorbikes, demand has slumped due to high interest rates and
rising ownership costs. 
    The country's automotive industry association this month cut
its motorcycle sales growth forecast for the financial year that
ends in March to 3-5 percent, from 5-7 percent earlier.
 
    Net profit for the Oct-Dec quarter rose 3 percent to 8.19
billion rupees ($150 million), in line with analysts' estimates,
as net sales rose 10 percent to 53.1 billion rupees.
($1 = 54.6000 Indian rupees)

 (Reporting by Henry Foy in Mumbai; Editing by Anand Basu and
Daniel Magnowski)
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