NEW DELHI -- India's Tata Motors posted a threefold rise in quarterly net profit, lifted by strong sales at its Jaguar Land Rover unit and higher demand for its trucks as the domestic economy recovers.
Consolidated net profit for the three months ended March 31 increased to 51.7 billion rupees ($771 million) compared with 17.17 billion rupees in the year-ago quarter.
Profit was helped by a one-time gain of 5.55 billion rupees ($83 million) in an insurance payment for damage caused to Jaguar Land Rover cars in an explosion at Tianjin port in China last year.
Net sales rose 19 percent to 799.3 billion rupees, Tata Motor said on Monday.
Profit after tax at the Jaguar Land Rover unit increased 56 percent to 472 million pounds ($690 million).
However, operating margin for the quarter fell to 16.2 percent from 17.4 percent a year earlier, hit by a 166 million pounds charge for a U.S. recall of potentially faulty airbags supplied by Takata, along with "doubtful debts and previously capitalized investment," Tata said in a statement.
Tata Motors said it has provided for 6.41 billion rupees in costs it will incur over as many as four years for repairs related to Takata air bags fitted in some vehicles sold by Jaguar Land Rover.
The company estimates about 100,000 cars will have to be recalled because of the Takata devices.
JLR's revenue increased 19 percent to 806.8 billion rupees.
Strong demand for the Jaguar XE sedan and the Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV pushed global sales at the unit up 28 percent to 158,813 vehicles.
Deliveries in Europe jumped 55 percent, faster than the 48 percent expansion in the preceding three-month period.
Sales in China, once its biggest and fastest-growing market, recovered during the quarter, rising 19 percent after dropping 10 percent in the previous quarter, helped by the start of local production of the Discovery Sport and the ramp-up of the XE.
"China is really coming back and we are cautiously optimistic that the global economy will continue to grow," JLR CEO Ralf Speth said at a press conference in Mumbai. "Therefore we hope that we can continue to grow in a very good way."
The automaker is rolling out the XE in the U.S. and is "seeing very good growth" in the market, he said.
JLR will continue to invest in new products, technology and manufacturing capacity, Tata group Chief Financial Officer C. Ramakrishnan told reporters, adding that the company will focus on ramping up sales of its new cars including Jaguar's first SUV/crossover, the F-Pace.
The British luxury unit's annual profit for the year ended March 31 fell, hurt by China's slowdown and higher investments. Pretax profit dropped to 1.56 billion pounds from 2.61 billion. Operating profit or EBITDA decreased to 3.31 billion pounds from 4.13 billion. Profit margin was 14.9 percent.
Revenue for the year grew to 22.2 billion pounds from 21.9 billion after JLR's vehicle retail sales rose 13 percent to 521,571, breaking the half-million mark for the first time, the unit said in a statement.
Tata sales boost
Deliveries at Tata Motors' India business, including exports, rose 3.9 percent to 144,507 units as it sold more trucks at home. While commercial-vehicle sales climbed 18 percent, passenger-vehicle deliveries plunged 32 percent.
The automaker's latest model, the Tiago hatchback introduced in April, has a waiting period of as many as eight weeks, CEO Guenter Butschek said at the press conference.
Bloomberg contributed to this report