Categories Concall Highlights, Earnings, Industrials

UPL Limited Q2 FY23 Earnings Conference Call Insights

Key highlights from UPL Limited (UPL) Q2 FY23 Earnings Concall

Q&A Highlights:

  • [00:21:47] Abhijit Akella of Kotak Securities asked about the net debt guidance for end of FY23. Anand Vora Global CFO replied that $650 million will be gross debt reduction. Of that about $150 million is used for buyback. So roughly $500 million will be reduced in debt from the $2.5 billion at the beginning of FY23.
  • [00:22:15] Abhijit Akella from Kotak Securities enquired about any increase in factoring that UPL might be looking at. Anand Vora Global CFO replied that on factoring, the company is targeting to remain around the $1.6 billion level. It might go up by about $50-100 million more, but will certainly be lower than the increase or growth in sales.
  • [00:24:00] Abhijit Akella of Kotak Securities also asked if the cost of factoring currently is favorable for UPL to significantly increase factoring in 2H23. Anand Vora Global CFO said UPL will be curtailing its factoring in some of the geographies where the cost is higher like Brazil. However, UPL will compensate by increasing factoring in countries like US or Europe.
  • [00:26:29] Nitin Agarwal from DAM Capital asked about the drivers of GM improvement in 2Q23 and outlook for 2H23. Mike Frank CEO-Global Crop Protection replied that the improvement was across the portfolio but meaningfully in the herbicide segment. This was driven by the strength and efficiency of UPL supply chain, resulting in opportunity to take appropriate price increases. In 2H23, the trend is expected to continue.
  • [00:27:41] Nitin Agarwal of DAM Capital enquired about overhead inflation. Mike Frank CEO-Global Crop Protection replied that the inflation on employee cost have gone higher and that trend is likely to continue. UPL expects to see SG&A growth as anticipated in 2H23.
  • [00:27:41] Nitin Agarwal of DAM Capital enquired if there has been any easing off on the inflationary pressure on freight and other expenses. Raj Tiwari Global Chief Supply Chain Officer said that on logistics the prices have come down significantly in US dollar terms.
  • [00:34:44] Vishnu Kumar from Spark Capital enquired if UPL is planning to take some more price increases in future. Mike Frank CEO-Global Crop Protection answered that it all depends on how things evolve from here. Currently UPL believes it’s in a stable environment. On a YoverY basis, prices should increase in 3Q23 over 3Q22 and in 4Q23 also. While additional upside in pricing depends on grain prices.
  • [00:38:03] Vishnu Kumar with Spark Capital asked that in terms of volume decline of 7%, if it’s more to do with Brazil or across regions. Mike Frank CEO-Global Crop Protection said that it’s primarily in Latin America and more specifically in Brazil. Outside of the Americas, the volume growth was in the mid-single digit range.
  • [00:45:27] Rohan Gupta from Nuvama Wealth enquired if the company is looking at full year volume growth in the range of 7-8% or product rationalization will continue in 2H23 also. Mike Frank CEO-Global Crop Protection replied that for full year, UPL anticipates volume growth in the mid-single digits. And from a total market perspective globally, a likely 3-4% increase in volume is expected at most.
  • [00:52:55] Aditya Jhawar from Investec asked if there is scope to increase the proportion of sustainability loan to lower the interest cost. Anand Vora Global CFO answered that UPL just concluded a $750 million loan at 20-25 bp lower than the cost of acquisition loan.
  • [00:55:54] Swadha Sinha of Ace Lansdowne asked about debt reduction plan of UPL going forward. Anand Vora Global CFO clarified that UPL is taking a lot of initiatives like reducing the credit terms and trying to sell closer to the season or time of consumption.

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