The sector appears to have found its feet with focus on affordable housing and this may reflect in the June quarter results of the companies. The move has led to higher sales for many companies, but on the other hand, it has also impacted the margins negatively. The reason being that the mid-segment housing is a high volume with low margin business.
It may also be understood that only the residential market has seen a recovery, while the commercial and retail segments are still under stress.
Among all the listed companies, Orbit and Indiabulls Real Estate (IBREL) are expected to show a marginal improvement in sales. With a huge fall in property prices in the luxury segment, Orbit has shown 5% increase in sales. With a 70% YoY decline in revenue, Parsvnath is expected to see the highest fall. DLF and Unitech may follow with 60% and 54% decline, respectively. As a move to generate cash for business activities, both these companies have exited from unviable projects and also sold noncore assets. This would help in completing under-construction projects. Even some large SEZ projects have been shelved.
Many companies have launched new residential projects in affordable housing segment. Though construction costs would be low, EBIDTA margins would decline by 5-10 % average due to sharper decrease in prices. However, companies like Unitech, DLF, HDIL, and Sobha that have raised funds have improved their balance sheet positions and thus lowered their overall finance cost. Average EBIDTA margin for June’ 09 would be 39% as against 43% for March’ 09. Peninsula Land is expected to show positive margin, as the number of projects was very limited, hence leverage was also low.
Despite all the gloom, realty sector is seen to show some improvement in margins. The overall PAT margins for the June quarter will be at 26%. Though real estate sector is one of the major contributors to the over all profit growth for India Inc, yet it is low as compared to the past PAT margins of 35-40 %. However as alternate sources of funds have become available, builders have managed to improve their cash position. Loans have been restructured and thus interest liability has been reduced. Developers like Mahindra Lifespaces, IBREL and Peninsula Land are expected to report PAT margins upward of 30%.