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Bajaj Auto Margin Slips In Q3, Profit Meets Estimate

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Bajaj Auto Ltd saw its prized profit margin slip in the quarter to December, sending its shares down despite hitting estimates with a 3 per cent 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 per cent from 21 per cent in the same quarter a year ago, as lucrative export sales slipped 2 per cent.

Shares in the automaker, also the world's largest manufacturer of motorised three-wheeled vehicles, fell as much as 2.7 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent, from 5-7 per cent earlier.

Net profit for the Oct-Dec quarter rose 3 per cent to Rs 819 crore, in line with analysts' estimates, as net sales rose 10 per cent to Rs 531 crore.

(PTI)