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The Indian automobile industry is riding high, like never before.

They say that history has an eerie habit of repeating itself. As far as the automobile industry is concerned, the monumental returns and the off-thecharts growth rates reported in India recently bear testimony to this adage. The events that unfolded in Detroit years ago seem to be repeating themselves today, in India. For the automobile industry, future in India seems like an evergreen pasture!

Overview of the Indian Automobile Industry

Starting its journey from the day when the first car rolled on the streets of Mumbai in 1898, the Indian automobile industry has demonstrated a phenomenal growth to this day. Today, the Indian automobile industry presents a galaxy of varieties and models meeting all possible expectations and globally established industry standards. Some of the leading names echoing in the Indian automobile industry include Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra, Hyundai Motors, Hero Honda and Hindustan Motors in addition to a number of others.

During the early stages of its development, Indian automobile industry heavily depended on foreign technologies. However, over the years, the manufacturers in India have started using their own technology evolved in the native soil. The thriving market place in the country has attracted a number of automobile manufacturers including some of the reputed global leaders to set their foot in the soil looking forward to enhance their profile and prospects to new heights. Following a temporary setback on account of the global economic recession, the Indian automobile market has once again picked up a remarkable momentum witnessing a buoyant sale for the first time in its history in the month of September 2009. After the economic downturn and difficult market conditions in the automotive sector globally in2008-09, during the year, economies across the world (with a few exceptions) showed signs of recovery and growth. The Indian economy bounced back quickly and strongly growing at 7.2% in 2009-10. The automotive sector in India started the year steadily, gathered momentum in different segments in the second half of the year and ended the year with a record growth and performance.

The automobile sector of India is the seventh largest in the world. In a year, the country manufactures about 2.6 million cars making up an identifiable chunk in the worlds annual production of about 73

million cars in a year. The country is the largest manufacturer of motorcycles and the fifth largest producer of commercial vehicles. Industry experts have visualized an unbelievably huge increase in these figures over the immediate future. The figures published by the Asia Economic Institute indicate that the Indian automobile sector is set to emerge as the global leader by 2012. In the year 2009, India rose to be the fourth largest exporter of automobiles following Japan, South Korea and Thailand. Experts state that in the year 2050, India will top the car volumes of all the nations of the world with about 611 million cars running on its roads.

Scope of this study

Through this project we are attempting to study the capital structure of 5 of the highly profitable Indian automotive companies. They are: 1. Maruti Suzuki India Limited 2. Tata Motors Limited 3. Mahindra &Mahindra Limited 4. Hero Honda Limited 5. Bajaj Auto Limited We have analyzed data including the long term and short term debt, debt-equity ratio, earnings per share, profit before tax etc. We have also graphically represented the data. For the study data for the last 5 years have been used (2006 - 2010). Data was gathered from the balance sheets, annual reports, chairmans report, profit & loss account etc. of the respective companies. The scope of the study is limited to automobiles falling under the category of Two-wheelers (Bajaj Auto, Hero Honda), Three-wheelers (Bajaj Auto, M&M), Cars (Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, and M&M) and Commercial Vehicles (excluding Tractors) (Tata Motors, M&M).

What does Capital Structure mean?

Capital structure means a mix of a company's long-term debt, specific short-term debt, common equity and preferred equity. The capital structure is how a firm finances its overall operations and growth by using different sources of funds.

For example, a firm that sells Rs. 20 billion in equity and Rs. 80 billion in debt is said to be 20%equity-financed and 80% debt-financed.

Debt comes in the form of bond issues or long-term notes payable, while equity is classified as common stocks, preferred stock or retained earnings. Short-term debt such as working capital requirements is also considered to be part of the capital structure.

Factors Determining Capital Structure

Trading on Equity-The word equity denotes the ownership of the company. Trading on equity means taking advantage of equity share capital to borrowed funds on reasonable basis. It refers to additional profits that equity shareholders earn because of issuance of debentures and preference shares. It is based on the thought that if the rate of dividend on preference capital and the rate of interest on borrowed capital is lower than the general rate of companys earnings, equity shareholders are at advantage which means a company should go for a judicious blend of preference shares, equity shares as well as debentures. Trading on equity becomes more important when expectations of shareholders are high.

Degree of control- In a company, it is the directors who are so called elected representatives of equity shareholders. These members have got maximum voting rights in a concern as compared to the preference shareholders and debenture holders. Preference shareholders have reasonably less voting rights while debenture holders have no voting rights. If the companys management policies are such that they want to retain their voting rights in their hands, the capital structure consists of debenture holders and loans rather than equity shares.

Flexibility of financial plan- In an enterprise, the capital structure should be such that there are both contractions as well as relaxation in plans. Debentures and loans can be refunded back as the time requires. While equity capital cannot be refunded at any point which provides rigidity to plans. Therefore, in order to make the capital structure possible, the company should go for issue of debentures and other loans.

Choice of investors-The Companys policy generally is to have different categories of investors for securities. Therefore, a capital structure should give enough choice to all kind of investors to invest. Bold and adventurous investors generally go for equity shares and loans and debentures are generally raised keeping into mind conscious investors.

Capital market condition- In the lifetime of the company, the market price of the shares has got an important influence. During the depression period, the companys capital structure generally consists of debentures and loans. While in period of boons and inflation, the companys capital should consist of share capital generally equity shares.

Period of financing- When company wants to raise finance for short period, it goes for loans from banks and other institutions; while for long period it goes for issue of shares and debentures.

Cost of financing- In a capital structure, the company has to look to the factor of cost when securities are raised. It is seen that debentures at the time of profit earning of company prove to be a cheaper source of finance as compared to equity shares where equity shareholders demand an extra share in profits.

Stability of sales- An established business which has a growing market and high sales turnover, the company is in position to meet fixed commitments. Interest on debentures has to be paid regardless of profit. Therefore, when sales are high, thereby the profits are high and company is in better position to

meet such fixed commitments like interest on debentures and dividends on preference shares. If company is having unstable sales, then the company is not in position to meet fixed obligations. So, equity capital proves to be safe in such cases.

Sizes of a company- Small size business firms capital structure generally consists of loans from banks and retained profits. While on the other hand, big companies having goodwill, stability and an established profit can easily go for issuance of shares and debentures as well as loans and borrowings from financial institutions. The bigger the size, the wider is total capitalization.

The debt to equity ratio is a leverage ratio indicating the relative proportion of shareholders' equity and debt used to finance a company's assets. It reveals how a company has financed its assets. A low debt to equity ratio indicates lower risk because shareholder's have claims on a larger portion of the company's assets.

A high debt to equity ratio usually means that a company has been aggressive in financing growth with debt and often results in volatile earnings.

A high debt/equity ratio generally means that a company has been aggressive in financing its growth with debt. This can result in volatile earnings as a result of the additional interest expense.

If a lot of debt is used to finance increased operations (high debt to equity), the company could potentially generate more earnings than it would have without this outside financing. If this were to increase earnings by a greater amount than the debt cost (interest), then the shareholders benefit as more earnings are being spread among the same amount of shareholders. However, the cost of this debt financing may outweigh the return that the company generates on the debt through investment and business activities and become too much for the company to handle. This can lead to bankruptcy, which would leave shareholders with nothing.

The debt/equity ratio also depends on the industry in which the company operates. For example, capitalintensive industries such as auto manufacturing tend to have a debt/equity ratio above 2, while personal computer companies have a debt/equity of under 0.5.

P/E In general, a high P/E suggests that investors are expecting higher earnings growth in the future compared to companies with a lower P/E. However, the P/E ratio doesn't tell us the whole story by itself. It's usually more useful to compare the P/E ratios of one company to other companies in the same industry, to the market in general or against the company's own historical P/E. It would not be useful for investors using the P/E ratio as a basis for their investment to compare the P/E of a technology company (high P/E) to a utility company (low P/E) as each industry has much different growth prospects.

The P/E is sometimes referred to as the "multiple", because it shows how much investors are willing to pay per dollar of earnings. If a company were currently trading at a multiple (P/E) of 20, the interpretation is that an investor is willing to pay $20 for $1 of current earnings.

It is important that investors note an important problem that arises with the P/E measure, and to avoid basing a decision on this measure alone. The denominator (earnings) is based on an accounting measure of earnings that is susceptible to forms of manipulation, making the quality of the P/E only as good as the quality of the underlying earnings number.