Profits at India’s Tata Motors slip

May 29, 2008 (AFP – India’s top vehicle maker Tata Motors reported a slight fall in annual profit on Wednesday as it announced a capital raising plan to fund its purchase of British luxury icons Jaguar and Land Rover. The company, part of the steel-to-tea Tata Group conglomerate, reported net profit fell to 21.67 billion rupees (509 million dollars) for the year ending March 2008 from 21.69 billion rupees a year earlier.

The profit decline was due to higher input costs amid soaring global steel prices. Profit was also hit by rising interest rates which hurt domestic demand.

Total income rose 10.4 percent to 359.18 billion rupees for the year as Tata Motors sold 585,649 units for the full year, including exports, the highest ever for the company, up from 580,280 units last year.

The company did not provide fourth-quarter earnings.

Tata Motors, which earlier this year bought Jaguar and Land Rover from ailing US carmaker Ford for 2.3 billion dollars, is set to launch the world’s cheapest car at just 100,000 rupees (2,500 dollars) later this year.

The company said it would raise about 72 billion rupees (1.69 billion dollars) through three simultaneous but unlinked rights issues to finance its purc