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India Tata Motors profit triples

New Delhi - Tata Motors' net profit more than tripled in the first quarter, the Indian giant said Monday, as sales soared at its British luxury marque Jaguar Land Rover.

India's biggest automaker said consolidated group net profit climbed to 53.98 billion rupees (R9.4 billion) in the three months to June from 17.26 billion rupees for the same quarter of the previous year.

A Tata Motors showroom in Mumbai, India. Credit: REUTERS

The figure easily outdistanced analysts' forecasts of around 35.3 billion rupees.

But Tata Motors, which also makes the ultra-cheap Nano hatchback, reported net profit at its Indian operations slid, hit by a continued sharp slowdown in India's economic growth that hit its key commercial vehicle business.

“A continuing weak operating and economic environment in the standalone business... was more than offset by strong demand for new products, growth in volumes,” Tata Motors said in a statement.

Tata Motors' domestic performance has declined as it has lost market share to rivals Maruti Suzuki India and Hyundai Motor.

Tata Motors, part of the Tata tea-to-steel conglomerate, is now hugely reliant on revenues from Jaguar Land Rover (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 brand driving Tata Motors' profits.

Consolidated revenue soared 38.2 percent to 646.83 billion rupees in the three months to June from a year earlier, the company said.

Tata Motors' shares finished up 3.3 percent at 447.40 rupees ahead of the results' release on investors' expectations of good earnings figures. - Sapa-AFP

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