A combination of factors, predominantly the depressed market in the South, dented the bottom line of Ashok Leyland with the net profit declining by 10.3 per cent, to Rs.565.98 crore in 2011-12.

The turnover, however, went up by 14.9 per cent from Rs.11,177.11 crore in the previous fiscal to Rs.12,841.99 crore. The company announced a dividend of Re.1 per share of the face value Re.1 each. For the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2012, the turnover was Rs. 4,311.02 crore against Rs. 3,848.45 crore and the net profit after tax Rs. 258.74 crore against Rs. 298.23 crore in the year-ago period..

Addressing a press meet here on Monday, Managing Director Vinod K. Dasari said the highlights during the year the highest overall sales volume of 1.02 lakh vehicles, a new high in international operations of 12,852 numbers, which was a 25 per cent increase, and the success of DOST, the new entry into the LCV segment in the six markets it was launched. Production during the fiscal was an all time high of 1.03 lakh vehicles.

“On the domestic front, more could have been achieved,” he said, adding that though the company gained market share in the Central region for the first time and in the Tipper and Intermediate Commercial Vehicle (ICV) segments, growth in other segments was muted. Attributing the depressed market condition in the South to elections in Tamil Nadu, the ban on mining in Karnataka and political uncertainty in Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Dasari said for Ashok Leyland, the region was significant as it contributed to 50 per cent of its business.

“Segments such as ICV in which we are not too strong grew substantially. Also, Multi Axle Vehicle market stayed flat,” he said. Higher depreciation and financial expenses had a bearing on the profit, he added. The company, however, rebounded and gained market share in March and April. “We recovered lost ground in Q4… south demand is slowly picking up, he said.”

Chief Financial Officer K. Sridharan said the need was to reduce working capital.

For DOST, there was 3-month backlog of orders. Jan Bus, the first single step, front engine fully flat floor bus, would soon hit the market. Ashok Leyland has roped in Indian cricket team captain M. S. Dhoni as brand ambassador.