* Q2 profit 4.81 bln rupees versus 4.63 bln rupees analyst
* Sales volume rises 6 pct, inflated by output cut in the
* Company to enter eight more markets by March
(Adds details on exports and competition, plus executive
By Aradhana Aravindan
MUMBAI, Oct 23 India's Hero MotoCorp Ltd
, which posted its first profit gain in five quarters,
aims to sell motorcycles in eight more overseas markets by March
to ramp up its export earnings in response to an increasingly
combative home market.
Hero, like rival Bajaj Auto Ltd, has been pushing
sales abroad to make up for shrinking market share in India. It
plans for exports to account for 10 percent of sales in the next
four to five years.
"Now we are in 10 overseas markets, and we are getting into
a rapid launch phase in the second half and we plan to add eight
more markets in the next six months," Anil Dua, senior vice
president of sales and marketing, told Reuters. "We expect
(exports) to be flat in the second half. In the next year we
expect them to really start growing."
India's largest maker of two-wheeled vehicles reported on
Wednesday net profit of 4.81 billion rupees ($78 million) for
the fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 30. That compared with
4.41 billion rupees a year earlier, and the 4.63 billion rupees
mean estimate of 14 analysts according to Thomson Reuters
Sales rose 11 percent to 57 billion rupees, matching analyst
estimates. In volume terms, sales rose 6 percent from a year
earlier, when the company reduced production to adjust its
The company attributed the gain primarily to a low
comparison base and increased shipments ahead of the
September-December festive season when many Indians consider it
auspicious to buy big-ticket items such as vehicles.
"The sentiments are positive and there is a momentum for us
in the market," CEO Pawan Munjal said in a statement, adding
that rising input and labour costs could pressure margins in the
Hero's overseas presence pales in comparison to Bajaj,
India's biggest motorcycle exporter.
So far in the fiscal year started April, Hero's overseas
two-wheeler sales were about one-tenth those of Bajaj, or 2
percent of total sales compared with 37 percent for Bajaj, data
from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM)
Hero started selling vehicles in Kenya, Burkina Faso and
Ivory Coast in July. It has since launched operations in Peru.
The two-wheeler market comprises motorcycles and scooters
which are often used in India as family vehicles. Hero's market
share was 41.5 percent at September-end from 42.7 percent a year
earlier, while Honda Motor Co Ltd's local unit had a
22.7 percent share, up from 19.0 percent, according to SIAM.
Bajaj, which does not make scooters, accounts for 15.4 percent.
Last week, Bajaj reported profit which beat analyst
estimates as a weaker rupee gave its export earnings a boost.
($1 = 61.6600 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in MUMBAI; Editing by