July 29, 2020 / 9:23 AM / 17 days ago

UPDATE 2-India's top carmaker posts first quarterly loss since listing

(Adds analyst comment, background)

BENGALURU, July 29 (Reuters) - Maruti Suzuki India Ltd reported a quarterly loss for the first time since its listing in 2003, as the coronavirus lockdown and supply chain disruptions sapped demand for the country's biggest automaker.

The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on automakers globally as people choose to stay indoors and worsened problems for Indian carmakers, which were already seeing inventory pile up because of weak demand.

Maruti's shares fell as much as 2.5% as it reported a net loss of 2.49 billion rupees ($33.30 million) for the three months ended June 30, compared with a profit of 14.36 billion rupees a year ago and analysts' average loss forecast of 2.96 billion rupees, according to Refinitiv data.

The company, controlled by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp , said unit sales slumped 81% year-on-year to 76,599 vehicles as it reported numbers days after Mitsubishi Motors and Nissan Motor forecast record losses.

Global sales at Nissan fell 48% to 643,000 vehicle in April-June as sales halved in North America and fell 40% in China.

India went into a lockdown for over two months beginning late March. Maruti said manufacturing during the quarter was equivalent to about two weeks.

Revenue from operations fell nearly 80% to 41.07 billion rupees, it added.

The company's strong balance sheet with huge cash and cash equivalents will help it in terms of providing support to its entire value chain system, said Arjun Yash Mahajan, head of institutional business at Reliance Securities.

India's auto sales volume is expected to take another 3-4 years to return to peak levels, an industry trade body said earlier this month.

$1 = 74.7830 Indian rupees Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru and Aditi Shah in New Delhi; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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