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Bolan Castings Limited (PSX: BCL) was incorporated in Pakistan as a public limited company in 1982. It is a subsidiary of Millat Tractors Limited. BCL is engaged in the manufacturing and sale of casting for tractors and automotive parts.

Pattern of Shareholding

As of June 30, 2023, BCL has a total of 11.47 million shares outstanding which are held by 1212 shareholders. Associated companies, undertakings and related parties have the majority stake of 46.68 percent in the company followed by local general public holding 38.62 percent shares. NIT & ICP account for 4.26 percent shares of BCL while directors, CEO, their spouse and minor children hold 2.79 percent shares of the company. Around 2.61 percent of BCL’s shares are held by insurance companies. The remaining shares are held by other categories of shareholders.

Historical Performance (2019-23)

BCL’s topline which was on the skids in 2019 and 2020, posted a strong rebound in 2021. The uphill trajectory continued in 2022 followed by a decline in 2023. BCL’s bottomline only posted a year-on-year growth in 2021 where it recovered from two successive years of net losses. In 2022, the bottomline once again plunged drastically and ended up in net loss yet again in 2023. The margins remained in the negative zone in 2019 and 2020, picked up in 2021 and then again tumbled in 2022. In 2023, gross and operating margins inched up while net margin plunged to negative zone. The detailed performance review of the period under consideration is given below.

In 2019, BCL’s net revenue plunged by 34.19 percent year-on-year as the tractor industry witnessed a decline during the year owing to low cotton crop which trimmed down the purchasing power of farmers. Upward revision in tractor prices on account of Pak Rupee depreciation, high fuel and energy charges and high discount rate also kept the farmers at bay resulting in 37 percent decline in sales volume of BCL (see the graph of sales volume). While the cost of sales slid by 15.64 percent year-on-year, the company posted gross loss of Rs.149.78 million in 2019 versus gross profit of Rs.328.20 million in 2018. Distribution cost plunged by 15.77 percent year-on-year due to low freight charges. Administrative expense surged by 7.98 percent year-on-year due to market induced rise in salaries and wages. Other incomes grew by 39.98 percent year-on-year in 2019 due to scrap sales, higher return on deposit and saving accounts and also because BCL wrote back the liabilities which were no longer payable. Despite sizeable growth, other income was not significant enough to produce any positive impact on the operating results of BCL. BCL posted operating loss of Rs.258.86 million in 2019 as against the operating profit of Rs.196.95 million in 2018. Finance cost multiplied by 310 percent year-on-year in 2019. While high discount rate played its due role, BCL also tremendously increased its short-term borrowings during the year to meet working capital requirements. This resulted in its gearing ratio climbing up from 24.52 percent in 2018 to 60.91 percent in 2019. The result was net loss of Rs.239 million in 2019 with loss per share of Rs.20.83 versus net profit of Rs.133.40 million and EPS of Rs.11.63 in 2018.

2020 proved to another sluggish year for BCL where its topline plummeted by another 11.96 percent year-on-year. While locust attack and water shortage in Sindh and Punjab region already took its toll on the agricultural output and had pushed down the tractor sales, the outbreak of COVID-19 made things even worse. BCL registered 25 percent drop in sales volume in 2020. High fuel and power charges as well as raw material charges due to depreciation of Pak Rupee didn’t let BCL post any gross profit in 2020 too. Gross loss; however, slumped by 41.16 percent year-on-year in 2020 to clock in at Rs. 88.13 million. Low payroll expenses and freight charges pushed both administrative and distribution expense down by 14.51 percent and 22.65 percent respectively in 2020. Other income also inched down by 37.95 percent year-on-year in 2020 owing to lesser scrap sales made during the year. Operating loss shrank by 29.97 percent year-on-year in 2020 to clock in at Rs.181.29 million. Finance cost didn’t give any respite and magnified by 52.82 percent year-on-year in 2020 as the company obtained long-term financing under SBP Refinance Scheme for the payment of salaries and wages. BCL’s gearing ratio rose to 84.41 percent in 2020. Moreover, discount rate was also high for the major part of the year except for the COVID quarter. High finance cost blew up the gross loss by 13.68 percent year-on-year in 2020 to clock in at Rs.271.69 million with loss per share of Rs.23.68.

In 2021, BCL posted a robust 81.51 percent year-on-year growth in its topline after two gloomy years of lackluster sales and negative bottomline. In 2021, sales volume grew by 42 percent year-on-year to clock in at 9779 MT. Good agricultural yield culminated into stronger demand for tractors which also stimulated growth in the ancillary industries. Cost of sales also grew by 48.91 percent year-on-year in 2021, however, increased volumes as well as prices enabled BCL to post gross profit of Rs.303.30 million with GP margin of 12.54 percent. Higher freight charges drove distribution expense up by 49.65 percent year-on-year in 2021 while administrative expense surged by 43.45 percent year-on-year on account of higher legal and professional charges and provision for impairment. BCL didn’t incur any other expense during 2019 and 2020, however, it booked Rs.13.25 million other expense in 2021 classified as WWF and WPPF. Other income multiplied by 717.26 percent in 2021 due to gain on curtailment and settlement of funded pension scheme, government grant income as well as greater scrap sales during the year. Despite higher expenses, BCL posted operating profit of Rs.223.92 million in 2021 with OP margin of 9.3 percent. Finance cost contracted by 33 percent year-on-year in 2021 due to discount rate cuts during the year. BCL’s gearing ratio also marched down to 66.21 percent in 2021. BCL posted a positive bottomline of Rs.132.38 million in 2021 with NP margin of 5.5 percent. EPS clocked in at Rs.11.54 in 2021.

While the magnitude of growth fell, BCL was able to muster 13.7 percent year-on-year topline growth in 2022. However, a sneak into the numbers show that the growth came on the heels of upward price revisions while the sales volume tumbled by 10 percent to clock in at 8788 MT of castings in 2022. Cost of sales surged by 19.83 percent year-on-year on the back of Russia-Ukraine crisis which created supply chain impediments and higher prices of oil and other commodities. This coupled with Pak Rupee depreciation and import restrictions due to low foreign exchange reserves proved to be a double whammy for BCL as its gross profit, once again, dwindled by 29 percent year-on-year with GP margin sliding down to 7.83 percent in 2022. BCL kept a check on its distribution and administrative expense which inched down by 1.27 percent and 20.74 percent respectively owing to lesser freight, payroll expense, legal and professional charges and no impairment for provision booked during the year. Other expense shrank by 68.6 percent year-on-year in 2022 due to lesser provisioning for WWF and WPPF. The gain on curtailment and settlement of pension scheme which was booked last year wasn’t available in 2022, culminating into 69.21 percent fall in other income in 2022. Operating profit slumped by 52.47 percent year-on-year in 2022 with OP margin falling to 3.87 percent. Finance cost nosedived by 2.10 percent year-on-year in 2022 despite monetary tightening. This was because the company made massive loan resettlements during the year to trim down its loan book. This resulted in a further downtick in BCL’s gearing ratio which was recorded at 65.08 percent in 2022. Net profit plummeted by 88.43 percent year-on-year in 2022 to clock in at Rs.15.32 million with NP margin of 0.56 percent. EPS climbed down to Rs.1.34 in 2022.

In 2023, BCL’s topline slid by 21.28 percent year-on-year. This was the effect of 43 percent year-on-year reduction in the sales volume which stood at 5028 MT in 2023. Devastating floods at the onset of the fiscal year resulted in damage of infrastructure network particularly in the province of Baluchistan. This coupled with the economic and political crisis prevailing in the country halted the purchase of tractors and automobiles, resulting in depressed demand. Cost of sales slipped by 22.76 percent year-on-year in 2023 as the company had to shut down its plant on account of sluggish demand. Gross profit tumbled by 3.84 percent in 2023, however, GP margin improved to clock in at 9.56 percent. Enhancement in GP margin was achieved through operational efficiency and use of local low-cost raw materials in the face of import restrictions. Distribution expense shrank by 7 percent in 2023 on the back of reduced volumes which resulted in lower freight charges. Curtailed legal & professional charges resulted in 16.11 percent lower administrative expense incurred during the year. Other expense nosedived by 46 percent in 2023 due to lower provisioning for WWF and WPPF. Other income also shrank by 36.12 percent in 2023 primarily due to lower scrap sales and government grant income. Operating profit grew by a paltry 0.17 percent in 2023 with OP margin climbing up to 4.92 percent. Finance cost surged by 53 percent in 2023 on the back of high discount rate. This was despite the fact that BCL squeezed its loan book during the year which drove down its gearing ratio to 61.95 percent. BCL made net loss of Rs.24.72 million in 2023 with loss per share of Rs.2.16.

Recent Performance (9MFY24)

Significant growth in the agriculture sector has resulted in a rebound in tractor sales during FY24. This has resulted in 76.62 percent year-on-year growth in BCL’s topline in 9MFY24. Robust topline growth not only came on the heels of improved volumes but also due to upward price revision to incorporate high cost of sales. The company also switched to local raw materials to evade the effect of currency depreciation and supply chain impediments. BCL’s gross profit strengthened by 480.69 percent in 9MFY24 with GP margin rising up to 18.38 percent versus 5.59 percent recorded during 9MFY23. Distribution and administrative expenses multiplied by 65.41 percent and 69.09 percent respectively in 9MFY23 due to increased sales volume, elevated capacity utilization and also because of high inflation. Other expense amounting to Rs.21.176 million incurred during 9MFY24 seems to be due to profit related provisioning. Other income also grew by 16.5 percent in 9MFY24. BCL’s operating profit improved by 2657.7 percent in 9MFY24 with OP margin of 12.82 percent versus 0.82 percent recorded during the same period last year. BCL was able to cut down its finance cost by 6.83 percent in 9MFY24 by paying off its outstanding dues. This enabled BCL to record net profit of Rs.184.293 million in 9MFY24 versus net loss of Rs.63.923 million during the same period last year. The company posted EPS of Rs.16.06 in 9MFY24 versus loss per share of Rs.5.57 in 9MFY23. NP margin stood at 7.06 percent in 9MFY24.

Future Outlook

The revival of the local agricultural sector coupled with MTL’s special trade initiative “The Madagascar Project” funded by the World Bank for the export of tractors to Madagascar are good omen for BCL and promise robust sales. Furthermore, BCL focus towards import substitution will not only keep the company immune of Pak Rupee depreciation but will also ensure smooth operations without any disruptions due to import restrictions and geopolitical tensions.

Comments

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BCL May 14, 2024 10:21pm
Excellent analytical report
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