No immediate plans for Tata Technologies IPO, says Cyrus Mistry


Tata Motors Ltd on Tuesday said it has no immediate plans to list Tata Technologies Ltd, its engineering services company, even as India’s largest auto maker by revenue battles competitive pressures in commercial vehicle market of India and China.

Tata Motors said it is going through a turnaround and has earmarked capital expenditure worth about £3.75 billion (aboutRs.32,500 crore) for its unit Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) for this financial year.

“We have no immediate plans for an initial public offer (IPO) for Tata Technologies. However, we will explore various options in the future,” Cyrus P. Mistry, non-executive director and chairman at Tata Motors said in reply to a query from a shareholder at the company’s 71st annual general meeting on Tuesday. Mistry said that the company has no plans to hive off its defence division either.

Mistry was replying to queries on selling non-core assets and enhancing profitability.

As of March 2016, Tata Motors’s consolidated debt was at Rs.63,099.94 crore.

Mistry’s comments come at a time when Tata Motors is implementing a three-year plan that new chief executive Guenter Karl Butschek has framed to put the company’s business on track.

The plan details Tata Motors’s targets for financial profitability, market share and rankings in both passenger and commercial vehicle business.

Six months after taking charge of Tata Motors, Butschek is preparing to introduce several changes at India’s largest auto maker that will realign verticals such as production, supply, research and development and human resources, in an attempt to remove operational bottlenecks, Mint reported in June.

In 2013, then newly appointed Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym had also initiated a makeover plan, but his sudden death in 2014 left it in limbo.

An analyst at a domestic brokerage said Tata Motors is still heavily dependent on JLR. The analyst, requesting anonymity, said JLR would also require huge capital expenditure with China slowing down.

Mistry admitted there were challenges ahead.

“We are all becoming used to unpredictable and dynamic market environments, learning to manage by anticipating customer needs, leveraging strong processes and building competitive product portfolios and networks,” Mistry said.

The new financial year will not be any different in the challenges it will pose, especially as the continued sway of technology is impacting the entire industry as consumer behaviour undergoes significant change, Mistry cautioned.

Mistry pointed out in India, economic growth is expected to remain strong, helped by low inflation and government spending. “The passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill marks in this context another important step towards a stable economic environment. Having said that, we must not forget the weakness in the financial sector as well as global macroeconomic risks poses a serious threat to India’s growth story. In addition, the competitive pressure in the commercial vehicles market will increase further,” Mistry said.

In China, economic growth is set to edge further down, and this will result in tougher market conditions for all global OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), including JLR.

Ralf Speth, CEO at JLR, said the company will increase sales in China despite challenges as JLR has got “good cars”.

“At JLR, we will continue to invest in a sustainable profitable growth strategy with a market defining product portfolio. The company’s (Tata Motors) standalone business, in the year ahead, will mark a milestone with significant launches and a continued focus on operational improvements and the start of a transformational programme which touches upon all aspects of the business,” Mistry said.

Tata Motors wants to get back to more than 50% market share in the commercial vehicle business and a double-digit share in the passenger vehicle industry, Mint reported in June.

“The recent Brexit referendum will also add some uncertainty to the world of global business, but we are confident we can see through it with careful understanding of its long-term impact and strong robust processes to handle volatility,” Mistry said.

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