India's Tata Motors profit triples

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Reuters

Tata Motors logos are seen at their flagship showroom in Mumbai.

New Delhi - Tata Motors, India's top vehicle group, Monday reported a tripling of quarterly net profit as a sterling performance by British luxury brand Jaguar Land Rover offset dismal domestic sales.

Tata Motors, recovering from the apparent suicide of managing director Karl Slym who was driving the firm's attempted domestic turnaround, said consolidated net profit soared to 48.1 billion rupees ($771 million) in the three months to December from 16.3 billion rupees a year earlier.

The surging performance comes on the back “of strong demand, growth in volumes and favourable product mix” at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), the company said.

JLR's profit more than doubled to 619 million pounds ($1.01 billion).

JLR's sales have been propelled by the launch of the new Range Rover Sport, the new Range Rover and the Jaguar F-TYPE.

Tata Motors has become heavily reliant on revenues from JLR, which it bought for $2.3 billion from Ford in 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis.

The purchase, seen by auto analysts at the time as a risky gamble, has paid off dramatically with the iconic luxury brands accounting for virtually all of Tata Motors' profit.

The vehicle giant, which also makes the ultra-cheap Nano hatchback, announced that total revenue for the third financial quarter - including JLR - jumped 38.6 percent to 638.77 billion rupees from a year earlier.

But sales of domestic-led commercial and passenger vehicles for the quarter fell 36 percent for the quarter to 1.32 million units from a year earlier.

Revenue from Tata Motors' local operations slid to 77.7 billion rupees from 106.30 billion rupees.

However the domestic arm of Tata Motors swung to a profit of 12.5 billion rupees in the third quarter from a loss of 4.6 billion, lifted by a one-off gain.

Slym was struggling to put the domestic operations of Tata Motors back on the road to profit when he fell to his death last month from the upper storey of a Bangkok hotel.

JLR has separate management.

Tata Motors blamed the slide in its Indian sales on a “prolonged slowdown in economic activity, weak consumer sentiments, subdued infrastructure activity, tight financing environment with high interest rates”.

India's economy has been growing a decade low of some 4.5 percent, around half the annual pace it experienced during earlier boom times. - Sapa-AFP


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