January 25, 2019 / 9:47 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Maruti Suzuki India Q3 profit misses estimate; shares plunge

* Commodity prices dent demand

* Shares drop to lowest since April 2017

* Q3 sales volume down 0.6 pct (Adds details, shares)

Jan 25 (Reuters) - India’s top-selling car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd posted a lower-than-expected profit for the third quarter, sending its shares to a 21-month low.

The bleak results come a month after Maruti Suzuki cautioned it would struggle to meet a double-digit sales growth for the year and flagged an increase in car prices to pass amid additional raw material costs.

Sales by Indian automakers have declined in the past few months, due to higher commodity prices, a depreciating rupee and weak demand.

For an interactive graphic on India's biggest automakers by sales, click tmsnrt.rs/2HCz88y

Profit fell 17.2 percent to 14.89 billion rupees ($209.65 million) in the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018, Maruti Suzuki said, way below analysts’ average forecast of 17.44 billion rupees, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

The automaker, majority-owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp , sold 428,643 vehicles during the quarter, down 0.6 percent from a year earlier.

Adverse commodity prices and foreign exchange rates led to the subdued performance, Maruti said bit.ly/2CK9oB7, adding that these concerns would continue to weigh going forward.

Shares of the company fell as much as 9 percent to their lowest since April 2017 after the results were declared. They were down 7 percent, as of 0946 GMT, in a broader market that was 0.46 percent lower. ($1 = 71.0230 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Subhranshu Sahu

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