May 23, 2017 / 12:11 PM / 3 months ago

Losses at home outweigh strong JLR sales for Tata Motors

FILE PHOTO: Men ride a motorbike past a Tata Motors car plant at Sanand, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, October 27, 2016.Amit Dave/File photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's Tata Motors 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 Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

Consolidated net profit for the three months to March 31 fell to 43.36 billion rupees ($668.72 million) from 52.11 billion rupees a year earlier. Total income from operations fell 2.6 percent to 789.81 billion rupees.

Analysts had expected a profit of 26.95 billion rupees, 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 percent year-on-year to 557 million pounds ($723 million).

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

Retail sales of its sleek Jaguar saloons and Land Rover sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) rose 13 percent to 179,509 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 8.29 billion rupees compared with a profit of 3.98 billion rupees in the year ago quarter. The company took a one-time hit of 1.48 billion rupees 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.

($1 = 64.8400 Indian rupees)

($1 = 0.7705 pounds)

Writing by Aditi Shah; Editing by Vyas Mohan and Mark Potter

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