January 16, 2013 / 8:38 AM / in 6 years

UPDATE 2-India's Bajaj Auto margin slips in Q3, shares fall

* EBITDA margin falls to 20.1 pct from 21.0 pct y/y
    * Q3 net profit up 3 pct, meets street estimate
    * Shares fall as much as 2.7 pct

 (Adds dateline, details, updates shares)
    MUMBAI, 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
    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.
    Bajaj's stock recovered slightly and was trading down 1.9
percent at 0945 GMT, on a Mumbai market down 0.8
    EBITDA margins were seen declining 50 basis points,
according to a recent report by Anand Rathi Shares & Securities
in Mumbai.
    "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; Editing by Anand Basu and Daniel
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