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Losses in India outweigh strong JLR sales for Tata Motors

Total income from operations fell 2.6 per cent to Rs 78,981 crores

Reuters  |  Mumbai 

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Tata Motors car plant at Sanand in Gujarat. Photo: Reuters

India's reported a 17 percent fall in fourth-quarter net profit on Tuesday as losses in its domestic business outweighed strong sales at luxury British arm (JLR).

Consolidated net profit for the three months to March 31 fell to Rs 4,336 crores ($668.72 million) from Rs 5,211 crores a year earlier. Total income from operations fell 2.6 per cent to Rs 7,8981 crores.

Analysts had expected a profit of Rs 2,695 crores, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"We have missed our objectives and we have not been able to live up to our expectations," CEO Guenter Butschek told reporters in Mumbai, referring in part to the fact the company had not managed to launch some vehicles on time.

Quarterly net profit at JLR, which has been propping up profits at the Indian automaker for several years, rose 18 per cent year-on-year to 557 million pounds ($723 million).

The unit's revenues rose 10 per cent to 7.27 billion pounds while its margin on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to 14.5 per cent during the quarter from 9.3 per cent in the previous quarter.

Retail sales of its sleek Jaguar saloons and Land Rover sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) rose 13 per cent to 1,79,509 vehicles in the three months through March from a year before, helped by an increase in sales in China and North America.

JLR said in a statement it planned to invest more than 4 billion pounds in the current fiscal year from April 1 in new products and technologies, research and development and expanding manufacturing capacity.

Tata Motors' domestic business posted a loss of Rs 829 crores compared to a profit of Rs 398 crores in the year-ago quarter. The company took a one-time hit of Rs 148 crores on unsold stock of older technology Euro III-compliant vehicles after a surprise court order banned their sale after March 31.

The company has formed several partnerships over the last few months, including one with German automaker Volkswagen AG to jointly develop products for India, and will explore more such opportunities, CEO Butschek said.

"The last year was all about getting our strategic direction right ... it is time to deliver on these plans and therefore our focus has started to shift from strategy to execution," he said.