We expect operating margins in the cement sector to get further squeezed in Q1FY23 as the impact of the significant rise in international petcoke/coal would now be felt in this quarter post exhaustion of low cost fuel inventories and continued uptrend in fuel prices. Further aggressive price hikes taken in April 2022 did not sustain and saw partial rollbacks from May 2022 onwards. With June exit cement prices declining further due to onset of monsoons, we expect profitability to stay under pressure. Overall, for Q4FY22E, our I-direct cement coverage universe is expected to report 19.1% QoQ drop in EBITDA with likely EBITDA margin of 15.1% vs. 18.7% in Q4FY22. Region wise, performance of north, west and central based companies is expected to remain relatively better while east and south region are expected to remain weak relatively.
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