* Tata Motors Dec consol net profit $140.7 mln
* Jaguar Land Rover reports 4.17 bln rupees net profit
* Sales reviving in N. America, Europe, China
* Tata Motors shares close up 6.3 pct
(Adds company officials comments, closing share price)
MUMBAI, Feb 26 Tata Motors (TAMO.BO), India's
top vehicle maker, reported a rise in sales and margins at its
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) unit as luxury buyers returned after the
global crisis, helping send its shares up more than 6 percent.
JLR had been a drag on the company's performance since it
bought it in 2008 from Ford (F.N) for $2.3 billion, just as the
global downturn hit consumer spending on high-end vehicles such
as Jaguar's X-series and Land Rover's Range Rovers.
"There has been a recovery, no doubt, and the signs of
revival in Europe and North America are encouraging, but it is
still fragile," said K.K. Mittal, head of portfolio management
services at Globe Capital.
"At the domestic level, while commercial vehicles sales
outlook looks good, its passenger car segment will be under
pressure from increased competition," he said.
Tata Motors reported a consolidated net profit of 6.5
billion rupees ($141 million) for the December quarter, after a
loss of 26 billion rupees a year ago. Net sales were 259.8
billion rupees. [ID:nBMA007053]
Shares in Tata Motors rose 6.3 percent to close at 711.05
rupees, helped by the results and a change in income taxes in
the federal budget that will put more disposable income in the
hands of middle-income consumers, said Jatin Chawla, analyst
with brokerage India Infoline.
Jaguar Land Rover turned profitable in the December quarter
with a net profit of 4.17 billion rupees. ($90 million)
Demand has started to pick up again and sales of JLR brands
in the December quarter rose 28 percent to 56,700 units from the
September quarter, with improvement in volumes coming mainly
from North America, Europe and China, the company said.
"In the last four months or so we have seen a strong
recovery. Cost reductions are happening, and that is reflecting
in the bottom line," said Vice Chairman Ravi Kant.
"It's a big turnaround we are witnessing, and we hope to
continue in this path in the future," he added.
Evoking memories of its former glory, Jaguar this month
announced its return to classic race 24 hours of Le Mans this
year with the Jaguar RSR XKR GT2, more than a decade since it
last took part.
Tata Motors, whose mainstays are trucks and buses in India,
also produces the Nano, billed as the world's cheapest car.
Last month, it reported a net profit of 4 billion rupees for
its domestic operations in the December quarter on increased
demand for its cars, trucks and buses. [ID:nSGE60S0KV]
Brokerage UBS, which has upgraded Tata Motors to a "buy"
from "sell" said in a recent research note it had turned bullish
on prospects of a significant turnaround at JLR and a growth in
its domestic commercial vehicles business.
PROFIT AND PRICE RISE
Consolidated debt for Tata Motors stood at 231 billion
rupees at the end of December 2009.
Sales in India, one of the world's fastest-growing markets,
have been boosted by a better economic climate and a government
stimulus from lower factory-gate duties on vehicles last year.
Tata Motors said it would pass on to customers the 2 percent
rise in factory-gate duties announced in the annual budget, both
for commercial vehicles and its cars.
Automobile sales in the country have risen an annual 24
percent in the first 10 months of 2009/10, with cars rising
about 25 percent and trucks more than 30 percent.
The stock, valued at $7.7 billion, had risen 34 percent in
the December quarter, outperforming the main index .BSESN that
climbed about 2 percent.
($1=46.2 rupees=0.66 pound)
(Reporting by Janaki Krishnan; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan
and Will Waterman)