Heritage Foods Ltd. and Parag Milk Foods Ltd. are nearly doubling in market value as packaged milk sales pick up the pace with Indians stocking up to survive the biggest lockout in the country.
The nation is the largest milk manufacturer and consumer, pouring it liberally into sugar teas and coffees, as well as using regular cooking derivatives such as ghee, curd, and cottage cheese. Company shares have risen around 90 per cent since 24 March, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi suspended public transportation and stopped selling almost all goods except food and some other important things in an all-out attempt to contain the coronavirus.
“The market for everyday substances such as fresh milk remains unchanged, not to mention its immunity-boosting properties in the midst of the Coronavirus scare,” wrote Shradha Sheth, a Mumbai-based analyst with Edelweiss Securities Ltd., in a recent report.
Shradha Sheth estimates that the supply of packaged milk has risen by 15 percent –20 percent as a dairy that was used until recently to manufacture products such as sweets that now have bee bees.
Rakesh Roy, an analyst with Investec Securities & Finance Ltd., says continued milk demand has helped businesses to maintain prices while input costs have declined. This benefit, however, will wane once the lockdown has eased a bit, he added.
Milk production in India has risen more than 6 percent since 2014 and the government is targeting to increase the output from 187.8 million tons in 2019 to 254.5 million tons by the fiscal year 2022.
Heritage Foods gained 93 percent in the lockout, while Parag Milk Foods gained 84 percent in the benchmark index compared to the 19 percent advance. This year, Heritage Foods has five buy calls, and one keeps, whereas the latter has similar ratings.
Amul — has acquired additional plants outside Gujarat to process the surplus milk obtained from dairy farmers nationwide.
GCMMF Chairman Ramsinh Parmar, who spoke to stakeholders and dairy unions on Saturday, said the consumption of longer shelf-life dairy products has seen a steep rise since March. Officials have noted that Gujarat has seen dairy whiteners sell like never before.
In a statement on Saturday, Parmar said during the lockdown, which is 15 per cent higher than April 2019, milk cooperatives attached to Amul sold around 255 to 260 liters of milk every day in April. For the month of March, Amul sold its consumers about 140 lakh liters of milk a day, which has now fallen to 125 lakh liters a day.