Credit Suisse turns cautious on CONCOR as the PSU is losing advantage in their top six terminals to private sector

Credit Suisse turns cautious on Container Corporation of India (CONCOR), and says the company is losing advantage in their top six terminals to the private sector. P Alli Rani, Director-Finance at CONCOR confirms that the company lost its market share to private players in road sector. Below is the verbatim transcript of P Alli Rani.

Q: Can tell us what the market share is currently of the company versus other private players in some of the key verticals like Mumbai, Dadri, Ahmedabad etc. because the concern that some of the analysts have is that CONCOR is losing an advantage and losing some market share to the other players?

A: When you talk about market share, I would concede that we have lost some market share to road, but when you are talking about other players in the rail sector actually we have gained market share. In the last quarter we reported 75 percent and it’s what we hold in container transportation in the rail segment.

We have been losing to road during the last two years probably one big factor is the drop in oil prices and definitely that gave the edge over in terms of prices. The other thing that has happened is it could be better roads or better vehicles for road transportation. They are also gaining in speed which was definitely a unique selling proposition (USP) for rail transport earlier. But of course, we have, in coordination with Indian railways, trying to increase our speed also so that we deliver this container boxes in time at the ports. So, we are fighting with road.

However, as far as other container operators in the rail segment are concerned, I don’t think there is any evidence of us losing market share.

Q: In any case the total income had fallen in the last counter in Q3 by 5 percent. How is Q4 shaping up and maybe even a quarter later? If you can tell us something about how business might shape up next quarter as well?

A: This topline drop you saw was very specifically due to the cancellation of port congestion charges which we had to collect during the last year. If you remember, the Indian railways withdrawn these charges and so that had this impact on the topline. As far as business is concerned we are very dependent on trade, both international and domestic. We don’t see any major trend difference immediately. We have devoted a lot of time in the last three years and currently most of our projects are in fructification stage preparing ourselves for a surge in trade which we expect maybe towards the end of the next financial year with GST in place and also maybe some revival in exports which I hope would happen because lot of factors are conducive for that like exchange rate.

So, in the sense if Indian goods get cheaper in the market we hope exports would surge at least started increasing, so we expect all that to happen. However, the biggest worry in this entire sector is a capacity in the terminals. Of course, it is very closely dependent on the capacity of the Indian railways also, so we have little more to wait for the fructification, at least some phases of dedicated freight corridor (DFC) may increase our capacity in the track space, but for terminals also we have put in a lot of effort, money, time and strategy in expanding the size and content of a terminal so that we can give bundle of services to the customer and try to attract them away from road to rail.

So, that is the period we are going through, we have to notify them, we have to finish the construction, we have to market them. So as far as the business is concerned we haven’t really firmed up our outlook for the next year, but in the immediate future I would say that there may not be any major trend differences except probably if you talk about margins yes, we may gain because we have carried a lot of double stacking operations whereas business will continue in the present time.