Ashok Leyland on track to reduce debt: CFO

Hinduja Group flagship company Ashok Leyland is "reasonably bullish" on its growth plan and is on the "trajectory" to reduce debt, a top company official said here today.

Chennai: Hinduja Group flagship company Ashok Leyland is "reasonably bullish" on its growth plan and is on the "trajectory" to reduce debt, a top company official said here today.

"We are reasonably bullish on the outcome of the company in the fourth quarter (of 2014-15). Our debt equity ratio has come down to 1:1. We will certainly look at reducing the debt even in March (quarter) also. We are on the trajectory to reduce debt", Ashok Leyland Chief Financial Officer Gopal Mahadevan told reporters.

Yesterday, Ashok Leyland declared its third quarter results, posting a net profit of Rs 32.09 crore, primarily on account of buying ahead of the excise duty hike. The company had posted a net loss of Rs 167.21 crore for the same period of the previous fiscal.

Net sales rose to Rs 3,290.62 crore for the third quarter of 2014-15, as compared to Rs 1,903.28 crore for the same period of the previous fiscal.

Stating that the government's announcement of projects in infrastructure, mining sectors has "augured" well for the industry, Mahadevan said, "Diesel and fuel prices has decreased by 14 percent while freight rates have also come down by 3.5 percent, favouring the transporter".

For Ashok Leyland, in the last nine months ending December, 2014, the company registered a growth of 20 percent over the industry growth of 10 percent.

"Industry growth was 1,60,030 units in April-December 2014 period, up by 10.3 percent. It was 1,45,044 units in the corresponding quarter of the previous year", he said.

Stating that the growth has come "predominantly" from sales of medium and heavy commercial vehicle, Mahadevan said bus segment in October-December 31, 2014, grew by 18 percent.

On the exports front, he said the company was making "deeper penetration" in Africa and South East Asian markets.

The company ships buses and trucks to Senegal and Zimbabwe.

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