Company Analysis: Bajaj Auto Ltd.
Pulsar - Pulsar was launched in direct competition to the Hero Honda's 'CBZ' model in 150 cc plus segment. The campaign beared innovative punch line of "Definitely Male" positioning Pulsar to be a masculine-looking model with an appeal to the performance sensitive customers.
The Pulsar went one step ahead of Hero Honda's 'CBZ' and launched a twin variant of Pulsar with the 180 cc model. The model was a great success and has already crossed 1 million mark in sales.
Discover - The same DTSI technology of Pulsar extended to 125 cc Discover was a great success. With this, Bajaj could realize its success riding on the back of technological innovation rather than the joint venture way followed by competitors to gain market share.
Strategies & Implementation
FMCG Business Model
BAL now is taking a leaf out of the FMCG business model to take the company to greater heights.
Bajaj has kicked off a project to completely restructure the company's retail network and create multiple sales channels.
Over the next few months, the company will set-up separate sales channels for every segment of its business and consumers. Bajaj Auto's entire product portfolio, from the entry-level to the premium, is being sold by the same dealers. The restructuring will involve separate dealer networks catering to the urban and rural markets as well as its three-wheeler and premium bikes segments.
Bajaj Auto also plans to set-up an independent network of dealers for the rural areas. The needs of financing, selling, distribution and even after-sales service are completely different in the rural areas and do not makes sense for city dealers to control this. The company also plans to set-up exclusive dealerships for its three-wheeler products instead of having them sold through an estimated 300 of its existing dealers.
Other Strategic Issues
Cash is strength: Bajaj Auto has been sitting on a cash pile for over five years now. Over the next couple of years, competition in the two-wheeler market is set to intensify. TVS Motors and Hero Honda are on a product expansion binge. To fight this battle and retain its hard-earned market share in the motorcycle segment, Bajaj Auto will need its cash muscle. A look at its own story over the past five years provides valuable insight.
Delisting worry: What is worrying is that there is an idea to delist the investment company (also an indirect indication that it would be listed initially). This would be closing the valve of equitable ownership distribution.
There is a hint of a buyback of shares of the investment company as this is the only way it can be delisted. The company would not be short of cash to put through such a buyback.
Factors such as low valuation, low trading interest and the need to provide shareholders may be cited as plausible reasons for the buyback.
Stake for Kawasaki: Bajaj Auto's attempt to vest the surplus cash in a separate company may be a prelude to offering a stake to Kawasaki of Japan in the equity of the automobile company. The latter has been playing an increasingly active role in Bajaj's recent models, and its brand name is also more visible in Bajaj bikes than in the past.
Better value proposition: Shareholder interests may be better served if the cash is retained to pursue growth in a tough market. This would also obviate the need to fork-out fancy sums as stamp duty to the government for the de-merger. A combination of a large one-time dividend and a regular buyback program through the tender route may offer better value. A strategic stake for Kawasaki would only positively influence the stock's valuation.
Strategies for the Overseas Markets
Bajaj Auto looks at external markets primarily with three strategies: -
1) A market where all BAL need to do is distribute through CKD or CBU routes.
2) Markets where BAL need to create new products.
3) Markets where BAL need to enter with existing products and probably with a good distributor or a production facility or a joint venture.
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