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Car giant runs off profit highway

MAHINDRA & Mahindra Ltd, India's largest maker of sport-utility vehicles and tractors, said third-quarter profit tumbled a more-than-expected 99 percent as currency losses mounted and sales fell.

Net income in the three months ended on December 31 dropped to 12 million rupees (US$246,000) from 4.05 billion rupees a year earlier, the Mumbai-based company said in a statement. That is Mahindra's smallest quarterly profit since at least 2003 and the fourth straight decline, according to Bloomberg data. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of nine analysts was for a profit of 1.09 billion rupees.

Mahindra incurred a currency loss of 1.2 billion rupees as the rupee dropped for a fourth straight quarter, completing the steepest slide in 17 years. Its utility-vehicle sales fell 26 percent in the quarter as banks tightened credit and job insecurity hurt sales. The Indian partner of Renault SA shut most of its plants for up to six days in December.


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