Tata-owned Titan posts surprise Q3 profit fall, shares sink

BENGALURU, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Tata Group-owned Titan Co Ltd (TITN.NS) reported a surprise fall in third-quarter profit on Thursday as high inflation hurt demand for jewellery and watches, sending the company's shares down to an over six-month low.

Shares of Titan, which also sells eyewear and owns the Tanishq jewellery brand, fell as much as 3.3% to 2,269.60 rupees in late afternoon trading.

Titan's profit fell 3.7% to 9.51 billion rupees ($115.8 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31, from 9.87 billion rupees a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, were expecting Titan's profit to rise to 10.35 billion rupees, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Revenue grew 11.3% to 104.44 billion rupees.

Revenue from the jewellery business, which accounted for 90% of the total, grew 14.1%, while profit in the segment dipped.

A rise in gold prices has led to a 3% fall in consumption in India, the world's second-biggest bullion buyer, the World Gold Council said in a report on Tuesday.

Elevated retail inflation levels further hit the rural sector, which usually constitutes for two-thirds of gold sales.

Bullion demand is usually high in India around festivals – a large number of which are in the early part of October-December quarter – when buying gold is considered auspicious.

However, this period saw fewer wedding dates last year. ($1 = 82.1280 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Nandan Mandayam in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Sohini Goswami

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