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Tata Motors fourth-quarter profit halves on one-off charge, expenses

(Reuters) - Tata Motors Ltd’s fourth quarter profit halved, missing analysts’ estimates due to higher expenses and a one-time impairment charge for certain product development programmes, the Indian automaker said on Wednesday.

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The results come at a time when Tata’s British luxury brand, Jaguar Land Rover, is bracing for a tough year amid concerns that Britain’s departure from the European Union in 2019 might create barriers to trade.

“In the near-term, the challenges of market, technology and geo-political uncertainties are likely to persist,” Tata Motors Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran said in a statement.

For the January-March quarter, Tata Motors' net profit fell to 21.25 billion rupees ($310.74 million), from 42.96 billion rupees a year earlier.

That was far below an average estimate of 38.40 billion rupees from 14 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

While income from operations for the quarter rose 15.9 percent to 912.79 billion rupees, total expenses rose about 19 percent to 876.95 billion rupees.

Tata Motors also suffered a one-off loss of 16.41 billion rupees for undisclosed product development programmes that was part of its work-in-progress capital.

Retail sales of its Jaguar saloons and Land Rover sport utility vehicles (SUVs) fell 3.8 percent over the period, coming off record sales in 2017, amid tough conditions in Britain due to Brexit uncertainty and a planned diesel tax rise on new cars.

About 90 percent of Jaguar Land Rover’s sales in Britain are diesel models, compared with around 45 percent globally.

($1 = 68.3850 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Mark Potter