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Apparel exports may improve from H2 FY24 due to expected demand recovery in US and EU regions: ICRA, ET Retail


<p>Representative Image</p>
Representative Image

New Delhi: The retail apparel brands in the US and the EU, which together account for close to 55 per cent of global apparel trade, are expected to liquidate the high inventory build-up of FY2023 and book their orders for the spring and summer season in H2 FY2024. Despite a tepid demand environment in H1 FY2024, credit rating ICRA expects the end demand to improve in H2 FY2024, boosting revenues.

As per ICRA’s recent research note on the Indian apparel export industry, the apparel firms are expected to report a mild 2-3 per cent YoY increase in revenues to Rs 27,255 crore for FY2024.

Sharing his views, Kaushik Das, vice president and co-group head of corporate sector ratings, ICRA said, “Despite a rationalization in raw material costs in H1 FY2024, the benefit is expected to be passed on to the orders executed, considering a weak operating environment at present.”

“The long-term growth prospects however look encouraging, with the Government of India’s various promotional steps, including the PLI schemes, the PM Mitra parks, the proposed FTAs with the UK and the EU and the longer-term benefit of China Plus One shift in apparel sourcing,” he added.

The operating margins may slightly moderate to 9.0-9.5 per cent in FY2024 (10.9 per cent in FY2023), on a relatively weaker operating environment in H1 FY2024, steeper raw material prices, and higher employee expenses. Indian cotton yarn prices had averaged ~19 per cent higher in FY2023 compared to the past five-year average.

However, between April and July 2023, average cotton yarn prices were ~24 per cent lower than the average cotton yarn prices in FY2023, while remaining elevated. Nevertheless, the stability of export incentives, together with the benefits of higher scale, should help the companies cushion the impact on profitability, ICRA said.

According to the credit rating agency, a difficult operating environment had pushed back large capex investments for most industry players. However, based on an expectation of demand revival from H2 FY2024, industry players’ strategies to take advantage of the China Plus One movement, and to capitalize on the PLI incentives (especially in the man-made fibre or MMF value chain), a pick-up in capex spending in FY2025 is expected.

Despite the expected increase in debt, the coverage ratios of the sample set are expected to remain stable as earnings improve. ICRA’s sample set of apparel-exporting companies is likely to report an interest cover of ~5.7-6 times and total debt/ OPBDITA of ~1.8-1.85 times in FY2024 and FY2025, respectively (compared to ~5.6 times and ~1.9 time respectively, in FY2023).

Out of the approved 64 applicants for the PLI 1.0 scheme in April 2022, 56 applicants completed the mandatory criteria for formation of a new company and approval letters have been issued. On July 18, 2023, the Government of India reopened the PLI 1.0 scheme portal till August 31, 2023, and on August 31,2023, the Government extended it till October 31,2023, ICRA explained.

In addition to the fresh capacity additions under the PLI, the PM Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (MITRA) schemes will strengthen India’s presence in the global apparel trade, by providing scale benefits and strengthening the country’s presence in the MMF value chain. ICRA expects the culmination of these schemes to enable the Indian apparel exporters to capture a greater share of the Chinese apparel export market.

Further, Das highlighted, “The overall share of the EU, which accounts for about 31 per cent of global apparel trade, improved to about 32 per cent in FY2023 from 28 per cent in FY2022 in Indian apparel exports. Therefore, successful conclusion of the ongoing FTA discussions with the UK and the EU, along with the FTA agreement signed with Australia, which came into force by end-December 2022, is likely to provide a growth impetus to Indian apparel exports, going forwad.”

  • Published On Sep 14, 2023 at 06:43 PM IST

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