India's Tata Motors profits dip on weak China sales
India's largest car maker Tata Motors reported a two percent dip in quarterly profits on Thursday as sales of its British luxury unit Jaguar Land Rover slumped in China.
Consolidated net profit for the three months to end-December 2015 fell to 35.1 billion rupees ($515 million) from 35.81 billion rupees a year ago, the Mumbai-based company said.
It was better than expected however, with a survey of 26 analysts by Bloomberg News predicting that the car manufacturer would report a 16 percent drop in profit.
Jaguar Land Rover retail sales declined 10 percent in China, according to Bloomberg, as Beijing continues to crack down on corruption and evidence of luxury living among high-ranking officials.
However, a strong performance elsewhere boosted revenues.
"In Jaguar Land Rover business, strong sales in the UK, Europe, North America and other overseas markets... helped in partially offsetting lower sales in China," the firm said in a statement.
Tata Motors is hugely reliant on revenues from JLR, which it bought for $2.3 billion from Ford in 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis.
Consolidated revenue rose to 722.56 billion rupees from 702.12 billion rupees a year ago, an increase of almost three percent.
Investors appeared downbeat with shares of Tata Motors, part of sprawling tea-to-steel conglomerate Tata, plummeting 5.55 percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday ahead of the announcement.
The car maker said earlier this month it would would rename its new Zica hatchback as global alarm grows over an outbreak of the identical-sounding Zika virus.
The launch of the small Zica -- which stands for "zippy car" -- came as the mosquito-borne Zika virus spreads rapidly through Latin America, where it has been blamed for a surge in brain-damaged babies.
© 2016 AFP