Jaguar Land Rover expects to post lower fourth-quarter profits than it did for the same period during the previous year, says chief executive Ralf Speth. This leaves the total of its full-year pretax earnings at around half of the 2.6 billion pounds ($3.6 billion) JLR made in 2014/15.
The firm’s profits have been impacted by sliding sales due to an economic slowdown in China, the massive fire and explosion at the port of Tianjin, and heavy investments on new products and sites for both manufacturing and research.
In the first three quarters of the current 2015/16 financial year, JLR made a pretax profit of just under 1 billion UK pounds. With the fourth-quarter earnings added in, the annual total will likely be around half of 2014-15's total figures.
The explosion at the Chinese port of Tianjin damaged or destroyed almost 6,000 JLR vehicles, costing the firm 245 million pounds, of which only a portion has been recovered by insurance. China, which not long ago was JLR’s hottest and fastest developing market, has seen a rapid slowdown of growth. According to Speth, however, the China market does appear to be bouncing back, with January sales up 5 percent in what is the world’s largest car market.
JLR built almost a third of the 1.5 million cars made in Britain during 2015. Speth warned that were Britons to vote to leave the European Union on June 23, that could have unpredictable effects on the economy, and thus JLR’s performance.
"We will not have free and fair trade, or it will take years to come to new contracts and new tax schemes," Speth said.
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