AC market in India

How Havells is transforming the AC market in India

Published On March 28, 2018 | By Bill Justin | Business

Havells is debt-free now. Its war chest has ₹1,590 crore of cash (in the nine months ending December 2016). The stock of Havells dropped 2.7 per cent on Monday fearing margin dilution post-acquisition as Lloyd’s consumer business’ margins are much lower. However, we see it bringing benefits for the company in the next one-two years.

The afterstory

This acquisition will help Havells get a foothold in the under-penetrated room air-conditioner market. Compared to other white goods — TV, refrigerator and washing machines, market penetration is the lowest in air conditioners — at about 3-4 per cent. Lloyd’s has 10,000 touch points (dealer/distributor network) across India which will benefit Havells now.

Havells’ management says the deal will be EPS-neutral in the first year.

For the nine months ended December 2016, Lloyd’s consumer business posted revenue of ₹1,242 crore and operating profit of ₹75 crore. Havells has estimated that for the first year, this business will make a profit contribution of ₹110 crore (with sales of ₹1,850 crore) to it.

Fair price

The price paid for the acquisition looks reasonable. Based on the full-year earnings estimate given by Havells for Lloyd’s consumer business, the price agreed for the deal comes to EV/EBITDA of 14.5 times. Peers including Voltas, Hitachi, Blue Star and Whirlpool of India are trading at 22-24 times EV/EBITDA.

For Lloyd Electric & Engineering, the consumer durable business (air-conditioners, washing machines, LED panels, refrigerators and small appliances) contributes 49 per cent to revenue. It has a market share of 14 per cent in the room air-conditioners segment and is among the top three players in the space.

The company is also a vendor of air-conditioners for brands including Voltas, Blue Star, Hitachi, LG and Whirlpool, among others. In the recent December quarter, the consumer durable segment registered a revenue growth of 43 per cent. Margin at the operating level was 5.5 per cent, which was lower by 100 basis points compared to the same period in the previous year. While other consumer durable players in the market enjoy a higher single digit (9-10 per cent) margin, Lloyd’s lower profitability can be attributed to its high marketing and ad spends (significantly higher compared to peers) and higher incentives offered to dealers.

Given the history of successful integration of companies (CrabTree, T-Series’ fans, Promptec) acquired by Havells in the past, and the successful turnaround at Sylvania (before it was sold out), Havells may also be able to improve Lloyd’s business over the next one year.


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