With initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat,’ the Indian government’s increased focus on the defense sector has led to a perception among market participants that companies manufacturing defense equipment will do well.
Indian defense firms are expanding their wings and are expected to soar even higher. Investors have been buying up shares in these companies, as evidenced by the stellar rise in their stocks. Here’s a primer on what’s causing the increase in defense stocks.
So far in 2022, most defense stocks, including Bharat Dynamics, Bharat Electronics, Ashok Leyland, and Hindustan Aeronautics, have rallied between 34 and 123 percent.
Indeed, in the last three years, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has increased by 264 percent, while Bharat Dynamics has increased by 210 percent. Ashok Leyland and Bharat Electronics have both increased by 208 and 162 percent, respectively.
So far, HAL and Bharat Dynamics have generated triple-digit returns in 2022, at 112 and 127 percent, respectively. In comparison, Ashok Leyland shares increased by 36%, while Bharat Electronics increased by 60%.
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According to reports, India is one of the world’s top five defense spenders. The government allocated Rs 1.52 lakh crore for defense capital expenditure in the FY23 budget, representing an 11 percent compounded annual growth over FY20-23. This capital expenditure accounts for approximately 29 percent of the total defense budget of Rs 5.25 lakh crore, compared to approximately 25 percent in FY20.
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The total defense equipment procurement budget for FY23 was Rs 1.24 lakh crore, of which Rs. 84,598 crore — or 68 percent of the procurement budget — was set aside for the purchase of locally manufactured weapons and systems in order to boost self-reliance in the sector.