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What’s ailing SPML Infra? Stock price hits new lows

New Delhi : Infrastructure developer SPML Infra Ltd has reported total income of Rs 344.80 crore on a standalone basis for the quarter ended December 31, 2018, almost unchanged from total income of Rs 344.08 crore in December 2017 quarter even as its stock price has been on a downward spiral since the last few months.

The Kolkata-registered company, a major developer of water infrastructure, announced on February 8, 2019 that its net profit for the December 2018 quarter had risen to Rs 10.58 crore on standalone basis as against Rs 8.43 PAT in quarter ended December 2017. Even profit before tax (PBT) rose to Rs 13.68 crore during the quarter as against Rs 8.73 crore last year on a standalone basis.

For nine months ended December 2018, the company's total income from operations was Rs 1072.42 crore as against Rs 866.42 crore in December 2017 while profit before tax was Rs 46.40 crore as against Rs 26.96 crore. Profit after tax for the same nine-month period was Rs 36.78 crore in December 2018 as against Rs 23.60 crore in December 2017.

But, sequentially, income as well as profits for the company have come down in the December 2018 quarter as against September 2018. Total income from operations on a standalone basis was Rs 400.52 crore with net profit of Rs 13.90 crore for the second quarter ended September 2018. Profit before tax was Rs 17.30 crore.

SPML Infra chairman Subhash Sethi said financial progress in the company's third-quarter results were better on a year-on-year basis and "we believe that the last quarter results will further strengthen the financials of the company".

But, despite the rise in profits, the company's share on the stock exchanges continues to hit new 52-week lows. During the past seven months since July 2018, SPML Infra's share price on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has seen massive erosion, coming down from Rs 91.50 on July 2, 2018 to Rs 31.45 on February 8, 2019, just a tad above its all-time 52-week low of Rs 28.10.

Stockmarket sources said even though some of the infrastructure shares have seen decline in share prices during past few months in line with the movement of the overall stockmarket, the SPML Infra shares have been particularly hit, leading to speculation that a cartel of operators may be battering the stock down.

"The SPML stock price has been hitting 52-week lows almost every week for many months now and is inching towards becoming a penny stock. At the current price (in 30s), the company promoters can mop up shares from the market to raise their equity holding", said a stock broker who tracks infrastructure stocks.

Meanwhile, Sushil Kumar Roongta, an independent director of the company tendered his resignation from the company on personal grounds with effect from January 18, 2019.

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Stock prices on NSE & BSE since July 2018

Month NSE BSE

July 2, 2018 Rs 91.5 Rs 91.50

Aug 1, 2018 Rs 74.45 Rs 74.05

Sept 3, 2018 Rs 63.75 Rs 63.75

Oct 1, 2018 Rs 45.25 Rs 46.35

Nov 1, 2018 Rs 52.95 Rs 53.45

Dec 3, 2018 Rs 44.15 Rs 44.40

Jan 1, 2019 Rs 39.85 Rs 40.00

Feb 1, 2019 Rs 31.85 Rs 32.00

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