Consolidated net profit for the three months to December 31 fell to Rs 112 crore from Rs 2,953 crore a year earlier. Total income from operations fell 4.3 per cent to Rs 68,541 crore. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected Tata Motors to post a profit of Rs 2,248 crore.
Retail sales of its sleek Jaguar sedans and Land Rover sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) rose 8 per cent to 149,288 units in the three months through December from a year before, helped by a 38 per cent rise in sales in China. While Jaguar retail sales rose about 90 per cent to 45,364 vehicles, Land Rover sales fell 9 per cent to 103,924 vehicles.
But JLR's net profit declined to 167 million pounds ($208 million) from 440 million a year ago, on revenue up 13.1 per cent at 6.5 billion. The unit's operating profit margin narrowed to 9.3 per cent from 14.4 per cent a year earlier, impacted by adverse product mix and higher discounting.
The rupee strengthened sharply against the British pound last year, impacting the earnings from the luxury unit in rupee terms. The JLR unit contributes over 80 per cent of Tata Motors' operating profit. An increase in tax expense also weighed on earnings.
Tata Motors' domestic business reported a net loss of Rs 1,046 crore as it revamped its passenger vehicles business to boost sales and gain market share. Earlier in February, Tata Motors unveiled a new brand called TAMO, aimed at testing new technologies and enabling the company to become more responsive to changing market trends. Car makers in India were also hit in the third quarter by demonetisation move in November, which took away 86 per cent of total currency out of circulation.
Following the earnings announcement, domestic brokerage Edelweiss has downgraded the stock to hold with target price of Rs 482.
Vijay Chopra, MD and CEO at Enoch Ventures, expects Tata Motors earnings to bounce back. He believes Rs 430 levels is a good level to enter into the stock from a long-term perspective. "The JLR brand is very strong. I am sure they are going to come back strongly," he said.
Avinnash Gorakssakar, head research at Joindre Capital Services, said that JLR margins have to be watched closely in subsequent quarters. But he said the stock could be a good bet after the correction as most of the earnings disappointment has been factored in and investors can look at accumulating it on declines.
(With agency inputs)