Damaged cars in the aftermath of the Tianjin explosions

Jaguar Land Rover profits hit by Chinese port blast

Jaguar Land Rover has announced that it will post a lower annual profit this year due to the impact of the massive explosion at a Chinese port in the summer.

Explosions in the Chinese city of Tianjin in August damaged around 5,800 Jaguar Land Rover cars that were held there at the time.

The estimated cost of the damaged vehicles to the company is £245m.

Despite the firm’s financial difficulties, it also announced it will double the size of an engine plant in Wolverhampton under a £450m expansion programme which is set to create several hundred new jobs. Total investment in the site, which opened a year ago, now stands at £1bn.

The car company’s chief executive, Ralp Speth, said: "We will have this year a lower profit number than last year. It's [because of] the investments number and this very special event in China."

Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by India's Tata Motors, made £2.61bn in pre-tax profits in 2014-15, a figure it does not expect to match this year.

Business secretary Sajid Javid said: "Today's news that Jaguar Land Rover is doubling its Wolverhampton site with an additional investment of £450m is further evidence that the British automotive sector can compete with the best in the world.

"More than 10,000 jobs have been created and about £3.5bn has been invested in its Midlands manufacturing sites since 2010."

Richard Butler, the West Midlands regional director of the Confederation of British Industry, said: "This announcement from Jaguar Land Rover will buttress the UK's reputation as a place to invest and boost the competitiveness of our world-class automotive industry.

"Leading the charge for innovative technologies that are made in Britain, this investment will unlock further growth and job opportunities for the West Midlands.”

The explosions that occurred at the Tianjin port led to the death of over one hundred people and injured hundreds of others.

Chinese state media reported that at least the initial blast was from unknown hazardous materials in shipping containers at a plant warehouse.

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