* Q1 profit 19.89 bln rupees vs forecast 9.8 bln rupees
* Revenues 270.56 bln rupees vs forecast 265.2 bln rupees
* Co sees strong demand from China, UK for JLR brands
* Shares rise 5 pct to hit highest level in over 20 yrs
(Adds analyst comment, share price movement, details)
By Janaki Krishnan
MUMBAI, Aug 10 India's Tata Motors (TAMO.BO)
swept past forecasts with a fourth straight quarterly profit,
driven by demand for its luxury Jaguar and Land Rover brands,
boosting its shares to their highest in at least two decades.
The company's Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) unit, which Tata
bought from Ford Motor Co (F.N) in 2008, is expected to fuel
growth in coming quarters as demand for luxury brands increase,
particularly in emerging economies.
Rising numbers of wealthy, brand-conscious Chinese are
overtaking debt-burdened Europeans and Americans as the source
of sustained demand for Europe's premium cars.
Tata Motors reported a consolidated net profit of 19.89
billion rupees ($429.59 million) for the quarter to June 30,
swinging back from a year-ago net loss of 3.29 billion rupees.
Revenues rose to 270.56 billion rupees from 164.73 billion
A Reuters poll estimated net profit at 9.8 billion rupees
on net sales of 265.2 billion rupees.
During the quarter ended June, Tata Motors sold 181,708
vehicles, up 48 percent rise from a year earlier.
Tata's results come amid a surge in demand for cars, trucks
and buses in India. Car sales in India hit a record high in
July, jumping 38 percent from a year earlier, boosted by the
launch of new models and the strong economy. [ID:nTOE672059]
Tata Motors is the country's leading maker of trucks and
buses with about two-thirds of the market. It also makes
utility vehicles such as the Safari, Tata Magic and Winger and
cars such as the ultra-cheap Nano, Tata Indica and the premium
sedan Indigo Manza.
"The numbers have far exceeded our expectations," Surjit
Arora, an analyst at brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher, said.
"The momentum should continue as JLR is seeing strong sales
both in the UK and China," he said.
Shares in Tata Motors, valued at $11 billion, closed up 4.2
percent at 957.30 rupees, outperforming the benchmark BSE index
.BSESN which fell 0.4 percent. It earlier hit 967.30 rupees
-- their highest level in more than two decades, according to
Thomson Reuters data.
Tata shares have soared some 660 percent since their lows
of 126 rupees in February 2009 and have risen about 21 percent
so far this year, outpacing a 4 percent rise in the main index
and a rise of about 16 percent in the sector index .BSEAUTO.
The JLR unit sold 57,153 vehicles in the June quarter, up
from 35,947 a year earlier.
Chairman Ratan Tata recently said in the company's annual
report that it would add more Jaguar models, including an
entry-level car, a station wagon and a roadster.
The company has begun a search to replace Ratan Tata, who
is due to retire by the end of 2012.
For Starmine comparative data click:
For newsmaker on Ratan Tata: [ID:nnSGE6730LJ]
For Tata Motors July vehicle sales: [ID:nnSGE67000W]
On Tuesday, the company said it was in talks with potential
joint venture partners to start assembly-line operations for
the JLR brands in China. The company also plans to start
assembling Land Rover vehicles in India next year.
Other automakers are also taking advantage of the growing
demand for luxury vehicles in China. Sales of Daimler's
(DAIGn.DE) luxury brand Mercedes-Benz grew by just over 17
percent in July.
BMW (BMWG.DE), the world's biggest maker of premium cars,
posted its best ever quarterly pretax profit earlier this
month. It said it had never sold as many Rolls-Royce models in
six months as it had this year, pointing to a sharp recovery
and broad-based demand for luxury cars. [ID:nLDE6711IW]
But recovery is still unsteady in the United States and
Europe where the industry is investing in technology to improve
Volatile currencies could impact JLR profitability, Tata
Motors said on Tuesday.
Supply of engines from Ford, with which Tata Motors has an
agreement, was not keeping pace with demand for JLR products,
the Indian firm said.
(Writing by Pratish Narayanan; Editing by Jui Chakravorty and