NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Bharat Heavy Electricals (NSI:BHEL.NS - News) posted a worse-than-expected 64 percent fall in quarterly net profit on Wednesday, the fifth straight drop, as a slowdown in demand ate into the sales of the country's largest power equipment maker.
Electricity generation in Asia's third-largest economy has been hit by shortages of coal and gas that have left power stations running below their normal capacity. Delays in bureaucratic approvals and land acquisition, as well as populist pricing regimes that force firms to sell at a loss, have also hit power companies - denting their appetite for new projects.
BHEL's net profit fell to 4.56 billion rupees in the fiscal second quarter to September 30, from 12.7 billion rupees in the same period last year. Analysts had forecast a net profit of 7.43 billion rupees for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data.
BHEL's order book stood at about 1.02 trillion rupees at the end of September, a company statement said.
Shares in BHEL, which had a market value of about $5.6 billion, fell as much as 2 percent after the earnings were announced, but they later recovered and were up 1.3 percent at 0830 GMT in a market that was down 0.25 percent.
In the first quarter of this fiscal year, BHEL's net profit had dropped 49 percent and prompted Deutsche Bank to downgrade the company to a "sell" rating. BHEL has also struggled to recoup money owed to it by some clients. (Reporting by Matthias Williams; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)