Maruti Suzuki India sees weak year ahead, shares dip

Credit: REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd forecast a weak rate of growth for the current fiscal year amid an industry-wide weakening of demand, sending the carmaker's shares down as much as 2 percent.

Adds estimates, forecast, share move

BENGALURU, April 25 (Reuters) - Maruti Suzuki India Ltd MRTI.NS forecast a weak rate of growth for the current fiscal year amid an industry-wide weakening of demand, sending the carmaker's shares down as much as 2 percent.

The country's biggest automaker, majority owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp 7269.T, said it expected production and sales to grow between 4 percent and 8 percent for the financial year started in April. Last year, the company targeted a 10 percent rate of growth for sales.

Growing use of app-based cab services such as Ola and Uber Technologies Inc UBER.N, tighter credit and market uncertainty ahead of India's general election have all weighed on the auto industry, hurting sales of private cars.

For the fourth quarter, Maruti posted a net profit that beat market expectations as cost-cuts helped offset industry-wide challenges.

However, net profit fell 5 percent to 17.96 billion rupees ($256.10 million) from a year earlier and the carmaker said it sold 458,479 vehicles in the three months ended March 31, down 0.7 percent.

The result compared with the 17.47 billion rupees average of 22 analysts' estimates compiled by Refinitiv Eikon.

For an interactive graphic on India's car market, click here

The New Delhi-based automaker helped raise car ownership in India nearly four decades ago with its iconic Maruti 800 model. It has since launched a range of vehicles including the Baleno and Alto hatchbacks and the S-Cross sport utility vehicle (SUV).

Total revenue from operations rose 1.4 percent to 214.59 billion rupees.

Maruti Suzuki shares were trading 1.5 percent lower as of 0938 GMT. The shares touched a more than three-week low earlier.

($1 = 70.1275 Indian rupees)

Five years of India's car markethttps://tmsnrt.rs/2XH3Y2W

Five years of the Indian car market interactive graphichttps://tmsnrt.rs/2XDbQ5j

(Reporting By Arnab Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Gopakumar Warrier)

((arnab.paul@thomsonreuters.com; +91 8067493881; Reuters Messaging: arnab.paul.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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