Jaguar Landrover have posted pre-tax profits for the company of more than �1.67bn

Jaguar Land Rover record profits ease Tata losses

Profits for Coventry-based motor company Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) roared ahead in 2012/13.

Pre-tax profits for the company reached a record of more than £1.67bn – 11 per cent up on 2011/12 – while revenues rose 17 per cent to an all-time high of £15.8bn.

The year saw the company introduce the all-new Range Rover, the Jaguar XF and XJ and the XF Sportbrake leading to a UK sales increase of 20 per cent contributed to total 2012/13 world sales of nearly 375,000 vehicles – another record and 22 per cent up on 2011/12.

JLR chief executive Dr Ralf Speth said: "The positive result for the financial year demonstrates that we have strong demand for our great, solid product portfolio all around the world.

"We invested significantly in the product creation process, in our advanced manufacturing sites and created more than 3,000 jobs.

"This commitment is set to continue with a sustained programme of investment which will see us spend in the region of £2.75bn on new product, people and infrastructure in the year to March 2014."

The results saw India's biggest carmaker by revenue Tata Motors, which bought JLR for $2.3bn in 2008, post a smaller-than-expected drop in fourth-quarter net profit as Chinese demand for luxury motors helped to compensate for sliding domestic sales.

Tata said on Wednesday JLR's profit margin rose to 16.9 per cent in the three months ended March 31 from 14.6 per cent in the same period the year before, helped by a favourable exchange rate and record quarterly sales.

Tata had previously announced that sales of Britain-made Jaguar saloons and Land Rover sport utility vehicles (SUV) rose 18 per cent to 115,504 units in the quarter.

Key to that was a 21 per cent rise in sales in China, JLR's fastest growing market. JLR accounts for more than three quarters of Tata Motors' group revenue.

The lacklustre performance at Tata Motors' India business, due to high interest rates and slowing economic growth, however, remains a worry for India's biggest truck manufacturer and the maker of the Nano, dubbed the world's cheapest car.

"We see the external environment and overall economic scenario very, very challenging and (it) will remain stressed," says Tata Motors' chief financial officer C. Ramakrishnan, adding this would have an impact on demand for its products.

Car sales in India are forecast by the automakers' association to grow by 3 to 5 per cent in this financial year, a rebound from the first drop in sales in a decade in 2012/13.

Tata Motors, part of the salt-to-steel Tata conglomerate, said net profit for the January-March quarter was 39.45bn rupees ($705m), down 36.7 per cent on the same time the year before, with revenue up 10 per cent to 560bn rupees.

A one-off tax gain had contributed to a significantly higher net profit in the year-earlier quarter. Analysts had on average expected a profit of 28.86bn rupees on revenues of 518.51bn, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine.

JLR's operating margins for the full fiscal year were 15.2 per cent, and Ramakrishnan said the margin was expected to remain in the range of 14 to 15 per cent for this financial year.

Quarterly revenues for the Indian business fell 32.5 per cent to 110.68bn rupees, as sales of its vehicles plunged 30 per cent year-on-year to 184,942 units. The profit margin dropped to 3.6 per cent from 9.5 per cent a year earlier.

Shares in Tata Motors closed 2.7 per cent higher at 303.80 rupees before the quarterly numbers were released. The main Mumbai market index fell 0.1 per cent and the auto sector index rose 0.3 per cent.

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