Enough cash flow to tide over Covid-19 crisis: Tata Sons chairman

The group is focused on navigating the current situation and profitable growth, Chandrasekaran added
Tata Sons is in a strong financial position with adequate cash flow to support the group companies and the growth initiatives, Chairman N Chandrasekaran said in a statement after a board meeting of the holding firm on Friday. He added that Tata Sons was not looking to monetise its investment to raise capital.


The re-assurance from the top executive has come at a time when businesses, including the Tata group companies, are battling the severe impact of the pandemic.


Tata Sons board discussed post-Covid-19 scenario for group companies, said a person who had attended the meeting.  “It was a routine meeting, where among other things we discussed how to help Tata companies come back strongly in the post-Covid scenario even as CEOs of each company are handling the situation,” he said.  The Tatas see the current crisis as an opportunity, he said.  “We don’t want to be opportunistic but we will actively tap into it (opportunity) when there is one. The only companies that will survive through this crisis are the ones that have cash and the ones that are trusted. As people are coming out of fear, they will migrate to brands that are trustworthy and Tata companies can tap into those opportunities,’’ he added.


The $110-billion salt-to-software group’s flagship firm Tata Motors is grappling with multiple headwinds in the domestic market while Jaguar Land Rover Automotive, the company’s UK subsidiary, is struggling to emerge from a collapse in car sales. Even as the company’s factories have resumed operations, the demand outlook for luxury vehicles amid a global recession remains uncertain. 


The group’s steel business in Europe too has been under pressure because of Covid-19.


On May 1, rating agency Fitch downgraded JLR’s long-term issuer default rating (IDR) and senior unsecured rating to 'B' from 'B+'. Both ratings have been removed from rating watch negative (RWN). The outlook on the IDR is negative. The rating firm expects JLR's volumes and revenue to fall in the FY21, as the company's key markets have been substantially affected by lockdowns. JLR’s annual retail volumes in FY20 fell 12 per cent to just under 510,000, with the fourth quarter volumes falling more than 30 per cent year on year. According to Fitch estimates, global auto sales will fall 15 to 20 per cent in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.


The Tata group companies, like all other companies, are facing both challenges and opportunities arising out of the pandemic and resulting economic situation, based on the industries and markets they operate in, Chandrasekaran said, pointing out that all group companies are progressing well responding to these challenges and opportunities. “We are confident that they will emerge stronger,” he said. The group is focused on “navigating the current situation and profitable growth,” he added.


Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel