What went right for you? In the third quarter itself, we were confident that the revival of demand will take place in Q4. Of course, the summer set in only in the last two weeks of March. Our performance was more than expected because of the refrigeration products. Room air conditioner demand picked up, but it will peak sometime in April or May. In March it changed completely because of refrigeration products and the professional electronic segment doing well and orders getting closed in the electro-mechanical projects business.
On demand is shaping up: It is doing extremely well except for the East where there has been rain and a lower demand because of that. In the rest of the country, the temperature is soaring and the demand is good. The commodity prices are somewhat under control, the exchange rate is under control, and I think Q1 room air conditioners should bounce back in a big way.
Have you been able to take any price hikes recently? I do not think we could pass on the entire price increase that we would have liked to because the competition continues to intense. On the other hand, we went ahead with certain cost control measures, including rationalization of certain portfolios, redesigning certain products, and productivity improvement within the company.
On improved margins: It is the product mix. The deep freezers and cold rooms share was very high. Certain inverter air conditioner products, high end, that share was high during Q4.
What about market share in the air conditioner space? We have gained. From 11.5% we moved to 12.3% in room air conditioners. That is our estimate. The final figure should be known in a couple of weeks or so. We gained market share in variable refrigerant flow air conditioners. It went from 15% to 17%. In chillers it went from 13% to 15%. However, there is significant improvement in deep freezers driven by quick service restaurants segment and ice cream segment. From 27%, market share went up to 29%. In the electro mechanical projects group segment, we thought because of elections many orders will not be finalized, but I am surprised that the order flow continues to be good. That is why we ended up with 20% growth in the pending order book as well. The booking growth alone in that segment is 34% for the year.
On June Quarter: In the June quarter, I think the growth should be 20-25% in the room air conditioners segment. In deep freezers and cold chain actually it is cyclical in the sense that they may go ahead of the season. It may not peak in the month of May or so. However, the room air conditioner demand is extremely good, though I am not seeing it in the air cooler segment for some reason.
On capacity utilization? For room air conditioners, I think for another 18 months to 24 months we will not need additional capacity, but for refrigeration products, basically water coolers and deep freezers, we are expanding our Wada factory.
Sales through consumer finance: It is available, it is easy, it is highly automated and I think we are touching around 40% of our sales coming from consumer finance schemes.