Categories Concall Highlights, Earnings, Industrials

Hindalco Industries Ltd Q4 FY23 Earnings Conference Call Insights

Key highlights from Hindalco Industries Ltd (HINDALCO) Q4 FY23 Earnings Concall

Q&A Highlights:

  • [00:25:42] Sumangal Nevatia from Kotak asked about cost correction for the aluminum business in 4Q and future quarters, and about coal situation and mix. Satish Pai MD said that 4Q costs were down by 6% vs. 3Q due to increased coal availability and moderated prices. 1Q24 cost of production is expected to be similar to 4Q, with some carbon prices further decreasing but caution due to the monsoon period with coal.
  • [00:27:10] Sumangal Nevatia from Kotak enquired about the cautious commentary despite expectations of further decline in coal availability for a few more quarters. Satish Pai MD clarified that coal prices corrected down in 4Q and current e-auction premiums are flattish with 4Q. The guidance is cautious due to the monsoon quarter and potential tight coal availability, but a reduction may occur after the monsoon.
  • [00:28:34] Sumangal Nevatia at Kotak asked how will the overall capex for FY24 and FY25, especially for the India business, affect the ramp-up of aluminum downstream volumes. Satish Pai MD said that in FY24, 30 Kt of Silvassa extrusion will start to come in and add to the downstream. Capex is guided at around INR5,000 crores, with a large part going to the rolling mill expansion in Hirakud and Aditya and the Chakla mine, and will be met with generated cash flow.
  • [00:30:05] Indrajit Agarwal of CLSA enquired how HINDALCO sees aluminum prices trending in the next few months and if it’s under-covered in hedges vs. global peers who may see a significant downside on coal or power costs. Satish Pai MD said its EBITDA per ton in the upstream business was $825 per ton in 3Q23 vs. global peers at around $500. LME is expected to be around $2,250-2,400 in the coming months, but is dependent on the Chinese economy and aluminum demand and U.S. interest rates.
  • [00:31:55] Indrajit Agarwal at CLSA enquired about the key component in the increased conversion cost in the downstream business and how HINDALCO sees its profitability in the next few quarters. Satish Pai MD answered that the conversion cost is not a concern due to high operating leverage and a temporary destocking in the consumer durables side. 1Q24 downstream demand is expected to be above 90 Kt and profitability will return to $200 per ton.
  • [00:33:16] Indrajit Agarwal with CLSA asked about the current operating capacity of Utkal and how will it change towards the end of FY24. Satish Pai MD replied that it’s about 2.2-2.3 million tons.
  • [00:36:09] Satyadeep Jain from Ambit Capital enquired how much linkage coal is required and being renewed, what is its longevity, and what are the alternate sources if linkage coal auctions don’t materialize. Satish Pai MD said the alternate source for linkage coal is e-auction. About 3 million of Tranche two and three lapsed last year and auctions are ongoing until the middle of June.
  • [00:38:56] Satyadeep Jain at Ambit Capital asked if HINDALCO will consider setting up a copper smelter on the coastal area despite environmental issues or are there other considerations. Satish Pai MD answered that HINDALCO is capable of running things in an environmentally clean and sustainable manner and is currently executing a copper alloy project and has clearance for a copper facility that will add 50 kt of copper. The viability of a smelter is also being considered.
  • [00:43:06] Aditya Welekar from Axis Securities asked about LME aluminum price trajectory going forward  given recent macroeconomic data and reports of weak demand from China and dumping of Russian aluminum. Satish Pai MD replied that macroeconomic uncertainty is impacting commodity prices, with the health of the Chinese economy being the biggest worry for LME prices. U.S. manufacturing activity is encouraging due to the IRA Act and housing starts picking up.
  • [00:46:18] Kirtan Mehta from BOB Capital enquired if HINDALCO has increased its aluminum hedging positions beyond previously guided levels. Satish Pai MD replied that in 3Q, the percentage was increased by a couple of points and is now at 11% at 2,755. Hedging is expected anytime it goes above 2,500.
  • [00:48:03] Kirtan Mehta from BOB Capital asked about the progress and commissioning of the rolled mill additions. Satish Pai MD answered that that India project is in full swing and expected to finish in FY25. The first coils should come out in the fourth quarter of FY25.
  • [00:48:51] Parthraj Gohil of Nirzar Securities asked about an outlook on the TC/RC rates for FY24 and at what price HINDALCO is sourcing copper concentrate. Satish Pai MD said that the TC/RC was declared at $0.20-$0.21 per pound in November/December of last year. 80% of the copper concentrate comes from long-term linkages with Chile, Peru, Canada, Australia and some from Indonesia.

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