Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Tata Motors posts record $4 billion loss on Jaguar woes, shares crash

Tata Motors Posts Rs 26,993 Crore Quarterly Loss Its Biggest Ever Jaguar stutters to £3.4bn loss after demand stalls
Laurie Berry | 09 February, 2019, 11:07

Britain's largest auto manufacturer, which is owned by India's Tata Group, made a £3.4bn pre-tax loss in the last three months of 2018 as sales fell.

The surprise non-cash write-off has been attributed to slowing sales in China, technology disruptions linked to a shift towards eco-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles, and also the rising cost of debt. Revenues fell by £100m to £6.2bn as vehicle sales fell to 144,602 for the quarter, nearly 10,000 less than the previous year. Daimler AG and BMW AG reduced profit forecasts past year amid pressures from the US-China trade war that's hit auto demand, while Hyundai Motor Co. said last month its letting workers go as it reviews production plans in the worlds biggest market.

While Tata has announced plans to turn around JLR, the slide in the unit's sales has continued for now with retail sales in China falling almost 50 percent during the quarter ending December 31.

Jaguar Land Rover's owner Tata Motors Ltd stunned markets by posting the biggest-ever quarterly loss in Indian corporate history of about $4 billion on slumping China sales, sending its shares crashing as much as 30 percent.

But analysts expect JLR to struggle to generate profit with China's economy projected to slow further this year after growth eased to its weakest pace in nearly three decades in 2018.

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Given the muted demand for its vehicles JLR has concluded that the carrying value of capitalised investments should be adjusted down, resulting in a non-cash £3.1bn pre-tax exceptional charge and an overall pre-tax loss of £3.4 billion for the quarter. USA sales rose 20 per cent and 18 per cent in the UK.

One problem, according to the presentation, is JLR's dealer network.

JLR, Britain's biggest automaker, is also facing disruption due to uncertainty over a Brexit deal and has chose to halt production for a couple of weeks in April. "From the end of first week of April, we have two and half weeks to three weeks of production shutdown that will happen, which will prepare us for the worst case scenario (regarding Brexit)", Balaji said.

In the three-month period, sales increased for the new Jaguar E-PACE and the electric Jaguar I-PACE as well as the refreshed Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, while the slowdown in China accounted largely for lower sales of other models. CNBC-TV18 Polls had predicted a profit of Rs 541 crore for the quarter under review. Stand-alone revenue grew 1.85% to ₹16,477 crore.

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