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JLR posts £358m pre-tax loss despite Q4 return to profit

Jaguar Land Rover Solihull manufacturing plant

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) posted a £358 million loss in its latest set of annual financial results – despite returning to profitability in Q4.

The British premium car manufacturer generated pre-tax profits of £120 million in the final three months of the period to March 31, 2019, but a £3.3 billion write-down mean that Indian owner Tata Motors still ended the year £3.6 billion in the red.

JLR chief executive, Dr Ralf Speth, said: “Jaguar Land Rover has been one of the first companies in its sector to address the multiple headwinds simultaneously sweeping the automotive industry.

“We are taking concerted action to reduce complexity and to transform our business through cost and cash flow improvements.

“The company has returned to profitability in the fourth quarter and already delivered £1.25 billion of efficiencies and savings.”

JLR’s overall revenue for the year was £24.2 billion and the company talked about "encouraging demand" for new models including Jaguar E-Pace, Jaguar I-Pace, Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Evoque during a press conference held today (May 20).

But 2018/19 sales of 578,915 vehicles represented a 5.3% decline on the previous financial year, nonetheless, and the manufacturer was once again called upon top deny suggestions that it had been the subject of an acquisition bid by the Citroen, DS Automobiles, Peugeot and Vauxhall-owning PSA Group.

A spokesman once again denied what he referred to as "speculation" surrounding a potential sale.

In October last year, N Chandrasekaran, chairman of JLR's parent company Tata Motors, announced a turnaround programme at JLR "to drive £2.5bn of profit, cost, and cash flow improvements over the next 18 months".

Commenting on the scheme – since dubbed Project Charge – at the time, he said: "In JLR, market conditions, particularly in China, have deteriorated further.

“To weather this volatile external scenario, we have launched a comprehensive turnaround plan to significantly improve our free cash flows and profitability."

Sales of cars in China dropped by 6%, to 22.7 million, during 2018, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) in the market’s first decline for two decades.

In a statement issued with today’s financial results, JLR gave an update of the cost-cutting measures, which included the loss of around 1,000 contractor jobs in April last year and the subsequent announcement – in January – that it will cut 4,500 more jobs, with the substantial majority coming from its 40,000 strong UK workforce.

In today’s statement the company said: “Jaguar Land Rover is on track to make at least £2.5 billion of investment, working capital and profit improvements by March 2020 through its Charge transformation programme.

“The company has already delivered the first £1.25 billion, with £150 million of cost efficiencies, £400 million of working capital improvements and £700 million of investment savings achieved by March 2019.”

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