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Company Overview:

Bajaj Finance Limited is a non-banking finance company (NBFC). The Company is engaged in lending and allied activities. It focuses on consumer lending, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) lending, commercial lending, rural lending, fixed deposits and value-added services. Its consumer lending products include two-wheelers and three-wheelers finance, consumer durables finance, digital products finance, retailer finance, salaried personal loans, e-commerce consumer finance, e-commerce seller finance and home loan. Its SME lending products include loan against property and business loans. Its commercial lending products include loan against securities and financial institutions group lending business. Its rural lending products include personal loans cross-sell, salaried personal loans and gold loans. It offers retail fixed deposits and wholesale fixed deposits. It is engaged in life insurance distribution, general insurance distribution and mutual fund distribution.

Key Points:

Operating performance strong:

Bajaj Finance (BFL) has reported a robust operating performance for Q4FY2017, with the Net Interest Income (NII) surging by 48.3% YoY to Rs1,477.0crore, while the Non-interest Income increased by 49.7% YoY to Rs212.2 crore. The impressive growth in the NII was driven by healthy growth in Advances (up 32.9% YoY) and expansion of Net Interest Margin (NIM; calc) by 103BPS. During the quarter, the company enjoyed the benefits of lower Cost of Funds (CoF) while lower NIMs during Q3FY2017 (due to demonetisation) resulted in NIM expansion. Provisions surged by 85.1% YoY to Rs289.7 crore, which was due to the additional charge of Rs70 crore toward demonetisation and non-recurring provisions. Going forward, the BFL management indicated that it will have to take a further charge of ~Rs40 crore in the next 2-3 quarters as the final impact of demonetisation, which at ~2% of PPOP should not have any significant adverse effect. NIM expansion and well-managed operations resulted in the PAT growing by a healthy 42.6% YoY to Rs449.2 crore.

AUM growth picks up post demonetisation:

Q3FY2017, which was BFL’s seasonally strong quarter, was impacted on account of demonetisation with an adverse effect on its credit growth. Consequently, BFL’s performance in Q4FY2017 has been comparatively better on a QoQ basis. In Q4FY2017, the company’s business growth improved, with AUM expanding by 36.1% YoY. Its main loan segments, viz. Consumer loans (45% of AUM, up by 43% YoY), SME loans (36.7% of AUM, up by 18% YoY), Commercial loans (13% of AUM, up 51.5% YoY) and Rural loans (5% of AUM, up 129% YoY) all reported healthy growth. Digging further deep, the Consumer loans business was mainly driven by Digital Products (up 63% YoY), Personal loans (up 60% YoY) and Salaried loans (up 93% YoY). Growth in the SME book was fueled by a 56% YoY expansion in Professional loans and a 31% jump in Business loans. Loan Against Property (LAP) has seen a slowdown due to the BFL management’s cautious approach, resulting in the LAP portfolio remaining flat.

Asset quality dips marginally:

During Q4FY2017, the asset quality of BFL witnessed some stress, with the Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPA) increasing by 21BPS QoQ to 1.68% while the Net NPA increased by 5BPS QoQ to 0.44%. The company also took additional provisions worth Rs70 crore on account of demonetisation and non-recurring provisions, which resulted in the slight deterioration in asset quality. However, the asset quality is still at a very healthy level, and the company boasts of 74% Provision Coverage Ratio, besides Rs300 crore of general provisions, which is also comforting.

Outlook and valuation:

BFL has delivered a decent performance for Q4FY2017 despite growing competition and the lag effects of demonetisation. Healthy operational parameters, AUM expansion and a decent asset quality are the key differentiating factors. BFL has been a leading innovator in the NBFC space and going forward better customer mining and further improvement in systems & processes will allow it to maintain its strong growth trajectory and profitability. We upgrade  to ’Buy’ with a price target of Rs1,550.