April 27, 2018 / 9:32 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Maruti Suzuki India's profit misses estimate on tax expense, shares drop

* Profit misses street estimates

* Tax rate hurts profit

* Shares down about 2 pct (Adds details of results, share reaction)

April 27 (Reuters) - Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, whose iconic ‘Maruti 800’ helped popularise cars in India, posted a 10 percent rise in quarterly net profit but missed analysts’ expectations due to higher tax expenses, sending its shares lower.

The Indian unit of Japanese car maker Suzuki Motor Corp said on Friday profit for the January-March quarter rose to 18.82 billion rupees ($281.74 million) from 17.11 billion rupees a year earlier.

That compared with the 21.10 billion rupees average estimate of 22 analysts, Thomson Reuters data showed.

An increase in effective tax rate impacted the net profit for the country’s most valuable automaker. Tax expenses jumped about 31 percent to 7.52 billion rupees in the quarter.

Maruti’s operations are key for Suzuki as it provides the bulk of the Japanese automaker’s revenues, and has a market value of over $40 billion, more than one-and-a-half times that of its parent.

The Indian company sold a total of 461,773 vehicles during the quarter, up about 11.4 percent from a year earlier, while sales at home grew 11.6 percent to 427,082 units during the quarter.

Maruti makes vehicles ranging from hatchback cars such as ‘Alto 800’ and ‘Swift’, to four-wheel-drives such as ‘Gypsy’ that is widely used by the Indian police and the military forces.

Shares in Maruti Suzuki were down 2.0 percent by 0855 GMT, in a Mumbai market that advanced 0.7 percent. ($1 = 66.8000 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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