The stock of the country’s largest engineering research and development (ER&D) services player, L&T Technology Services (LTTS), has declined 15 per cent over the past month. In addition to growth concerns for the ER&D space, a key overhang for the stock was the recent acquisition of Smart World and Communication (SWC), a business unit of Larsen and Toubro (L&T).
SWC offers solutions in areas of end-to-end communications, city surveillance, and intelligent traffic management systems for the government and enterprises. The rationale for the acquisition was enhancing LTTS’s capabilities in the 5G network architecture and conceptualisation.
While the valuation of the acquisition at 0.7 times its sales and eight times its operating profit is not demanding, brokerages believe that its inferior client profile, low margins, and high working capital are negatives. At 8-10 per cent, SWC’s margins are much lower than LTTS’s 21.5 per cent and,
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