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HDFC Securities: Indian Chemical Sector (Sector Update) - Steering well through the pandemic!

Posted On: 2021-01-24 22:18:20 (Time Zone: Arizona, USA)

Mr. Nilesh Ghuge, Institutional Research Analyst, HDFC Securities & Mr. Harshad Katkar, Institutional Research Analyst, HDFC Securities

The Indian chemical industry holds an integral position in the global market. It is the sixth-largest globally, and the third-largest in Asia with a market size of ~USD180bn. The Indian chemical industry is in a sweet spot with tremendous opportunity and favourable tailwinds. It should experience significant growth in the coming years, driven by rising household incomes, the existent consumption gap, favourable government policies, and a huge export opportunity.

The rising disposable income will lead to a shift in consumer preferences towards premier products. There will be a shift in consumption from commoditised products towards premier products across all industries. Currently, imports meet a large part of the domestic demand for speciality and downstream chemicals, offering much headroom growth in local production. In addition to significant growth in domestic demand, the geopolitical shifts underway in the international markets offer India an opportunity to emerge as a global production and export powerhouse.

The focus on investments to develop product and process capabilities, research & development abilities, and supportive policies should drive the industry's growth. We expect aggregate revenue of our chemical universe to grow at a 14% CAGR over FY21-24E, while APAT CAGR would be ahead of revenue growth 17% for the companies under our coverage. Average RoCE of the companies in our chemical universe would expand by 50bps to 18% in FY24E despite their heavy Capex investments. The aggregate OCF of our chemical universe should grow by 45% from INR 35bn in FY21E to INR 51bn in FY24E.

We roll forward the DCF-based target prices for companies under our coverage to Mar '23 (earlier Sep'22). We maintain a BUY rating for AIL, Galaxy Surfactants, Sudarshan Chemical, and an ADD rating for NFIL, while a SELL rating for Vinati Organics. We have increased the target prices for Alkyl Amines, Balaji Amines and SRF, but have downgraded their rating from BUY to ADD. We like these stocks owing to the expectation of their attractive revenue growth, margin levers and capacity expansion over the next two years. The downgrade is largely on the back of 20-50% increase in the stock prices in the past three months.

Rising disposable income to increase the demand for value-added products: With the rise in disposable incomes and an increase in urbanisation, consumer preferences will shift towards a healthier lifestyle and environmentally friendly products. It will boost the demand for value-added products from end-user industries. India's per capita chemical consumption continues to be significantly lower than that of the developed markets. India is one of the fastest-growing consumer markets globally, wherein per capita chemical consumption is low, allowing much headroom for growth.

China plus one policy to create a massive opportunity: The ongoing global trade war and changing geopolitical scenario triggered by the spread of the pandemic will encourage more global chemical companies to diversify their supply sources. Indian chemical manufacturers are in a sweet spot with policy support from the government. China is the largest chemical producer globally (~36% market share). India's share in the global chemical market (~3%) will be doubled by a shift of merely 10% of China's chemical business to India.

Source: Equity Bulls

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