The stocks of DB Realty and rose after top executives of these companies were granted bail in the 2G scam case. The DB Realty stock has risen 40%, while Unitech gained 4%. However, some of the intrinsic problems which plague these companies, and uncertainty over the outcome of the 2G scam case may prevent any major appreciation in the stock.
Scrapping of projects involving the government, delayed execution and difficulty in securing approvals for new projects – DB Realty has seen it all. The company did not launch any new projects in the September quarter and sold around 50-75% of its existing seven projects. Even the analyst community has washed its hands of the stock with most brokerages discontinuing their coverage on the stock.
The company’s net sales for the first half year ended September are down by 36%, while its net profit dropped by 76% during the same period. However, the company is extinguishing its debt by selling non-core assets.
At the end of the September quarter, the company managed to reduce its debt from Rs600 crore a year ago to Rs 230 crore. It is sitting on a substantial pileup of TDR (transfer of development rights), which can be realised to further boost cash flows of the company. However, the outcome of the 2G scam case on its promoters will weigh heavily on the business prospects of the company which has its projects predominantly in Mumbai.
Unitech is the second big real estate company to be impacted because of the alleged involvement of its top deck in the 2G scam. Besides the problems associated with all real estate companies, there are other challenges.
For instance, the company was at the receiving end of shareholders’ ire at its annual general meeting as they refused to approve a resolution to pay dividend on equity shares for the fiscal 2011. The company’s net sales and earnings have dropped by 17% and 45% respectively for the first half of this fiscal.
However, the business model continues to remain strong. Unitech has a presence in the affordable and mid-income housing segment which enables it to generate cash flows. It has been launching new projects, although the scale of execution is slow. Despite lower revenue recognition, it has managed to lower its debt through internal cash accruals.
It has an outstanding net debt of Rs 5,144 crore and a land bank of close to 7,000 acres with an average cost of acquisition of land of around Rs 250 per square feet. Despite strong fundamentals, the loss of credibility and uncertainty over the 2G probe will restrict any major upside in the stock. The stock continues to trade at a significant discount to its land value that analysts estimate to be at Rs 60.