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May met Tata patriarch Ratan as Jaguar warns on Brexit, diesel - source

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By Reuters
May met Tata patriarch Ratan as Jaguar warns on Brexit, diesel - source
FILE PHOTO: Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, attends an event where he was inducted into the 2015 Automotive Hall of Fame in Detroit, Michigan July 23, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook   -   Copyright  Rebecca Cook(Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May and business minister Greg Clark met Ratan Tata, patriarch of the Indian Tata family, a few weeks ago as its car brand Jaguar Land Rover warns about the effect of Brexit and diesel policy, a government source said.

The sprawling Tata conglomerate includes manufacturing, defence, aerospace, services and steel operations.

Tata bought ailing Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in 2008 and has ploughed billions of pounds into the firm, making it Britain’s biggest automotive company producing nearly one of three cars made in the country.

However in recent months the company has seen its sales hit by a weakening performance in major market China and a crackdown on diesel in Europe, prompting it to cut output.

Chief Executive Ralf Speth has also warned about the risks of Brexit, saying a bad deal could cost around 1.2 billion pounds annually and warning he did not know whether his plants could operate after Britain’s exit from the bloc in six months’ time.

“Ratan, the PM and Greg met about three weeks ago,” a British government source told Reuters.

A Tata Motors spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by William Schomberg)