India Watch : Tata Motors’ shares hit 19-year high on profit report

Automotive News Europe/Bloomberg, 10th August, 2010

MUMBAI (Bloomberg) – Shares in Tata Motors Limited, the Indian owner of Jaguar Land Rover, rose to their highest level in more than 19 years after the company posted a first-quarter profit on demand for luxury SUVs and sedans. The carmaker made a net income of 19.9 billion rupees ($430 million) in the three months ended June, compared with a loss of 3.3 billion rupees a year earlier, it said in Mumbai Tuesday. Sales rose 64 percent to 268.8 billion rupees.

Tata Motors gained 5.9 percent in Mumbai after Jaguar Land Rover benefited from a rebound in luxury-vehicle sales that also caused BMW AG and Daimler AG to raise their profit forecasts.

Chairman Ratan Tata, 72, who plans to retire in 2012, intends to open Land Rover factories in India and China on rising demand in emerging markets.

‘The profit numbers are good,” said Vaishali Jajoo, a Mumbai-based analyst at Angel Broking Ltd. ‘Jaguar Land Rover’s performance is substantially good.” Analysts expected profit of between 11 billion rupees and 19 billion rupees, she said.

Tata Motors, run by Carl-Peter Forster, the former European head of General Motors Co., climbed to 957.3 rupees, the highest since at least January 1991, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The shares have gained 21 percent this year, the third-best performance in the benchmark Sensex Index, which has advanced 4.3 percent.

Jaguar profit

Jaguar Land Rover, which Tata bought from Ford Motor Co. in 2008 for $2.5 billion, posted a net income of 221 million pounds ($348 million) in the quarter, compared with a year-ago loss of 64 million pounds, Chief Financial Officer C. Ramakrishnan told reporters in Mumbai Tuesday. The UK-based luxury unit sold 57,153 vehicles compared with 35,947 a year earlier.

The unit is facing a shortage of engines and is working with Ford to boost supplies, Forster said Tuesday. The company is also in talks with potential partners in China about setting up an assembly plant, he said.

The carmaker intends to revamp Jaguar’s range by adding a station wagon, a new roadster and an entry-level model.

‘If economies continue picking up around the world, then people will buy more luxury cars,” said Taina Erajuuri, who helps manage the equivalent of $1.2 billion of emerging market stocks at Helsinki-based Fim Asset Management.

Sales of Tata-brand trucks, buses and cars rose 48 percent to 181,708 as expansion in Asia’s third-largest economy spurred demand. The company also makes the $2,500 Nano.

The auto maker sold 14,779 Nano minicars in the first quarter. Last month, it raised prices of the car by as much as 4 percent. In June, Tata opened a factory in the western state of Gujarat that may eventually make as many as 350,000 Nanos a year.

Tata plans to raise as much as 47 billion rupees to expand operations and pare debt accumulated from the purchase of Jaguar Land Rover, it said June 28. The company, also India’s largest commercial-vehicle maker, had a consolidated debt of 199.8 billion rupees as of June, Ramakrishnan said.

[Source: Automotive News Europe]

Clive Goldthorp

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