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European biz drags Tata Steel into red in fourth quarter

Special Correspondent
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H. M. Nerurkar
H. M. Nerurkar

Tata Steel reported a consolidated loss of Rs.6,529 crore in the fourth quarter of 2012-13 against a profit of Rs.433 crore in the same period last year as the company took a one-time impairment charge of Rs.8,355.9 crore on its non-current assets related largely to its European operations.

During the quarter, consolidated turnover was Rs.34,650 crore (Rs.33,999 crore) while group operating profit was Rs.4,368 crore (Rs.3,419 crore). Group steel deliveries at 6.56 million tonnes grew 5.6 per cent.

“The impairment charge is a non-cash charge, and a significant portion of it relates partly to the goodwill created on the Corus Group acquisition in 2007 and partly to the assets of the business units severely affected by demand contraction in Europe,” said Koushik Chatterjee, Tata Steel Group CFO, while addressing the media here on Thursday.

Tata Steel’s Indian operations achieved a net profit of Rs.1,309 crore in the fourth quarter against Rs.1,046 crore in the year-ago period. The turnover was Rs.10,771 crore (Rs.9,479 crore) and the operating profit was Rs.3,714 crore (Rs.2,975 crore). Deliveries were up 29 per cent at 2.28 million tonnes.

The company’s European operations resulted in an improved operating profit of Rs.613 crore (Rs.146 crore) during the quarter with a lower turnover of Rs.19,166 crore (Rs.19,923 crore). Deliveries improved to 3.42 million tonnes (3.02 million tonnes).

In 2012-13, Tata Steel reported a consolidated loss of Rs.7,058 crore against a profit of Rs.5,390 crore mainly due to the impairment charge. The turnover was up at Rs.1,34,712 crore against Rs.1,32,900 crore.

Rs.8 dividend

The board has recommended a dividend of Rs.8 per share. The group’s operating profit was lower at Rs.12,654 crore in 2012-13 against Rs.13,533 crore in the previous year. Deliveries were stable at 24.13 million tonnes (24.22 million tonnes).

Its India operations reported a profit of Rs.5,063 crore (Rs.6,696.4 crore) on a turnover of Rs.38,199 crore (Rs.33,933 crore). Operating profit was up marginally at Rs.11,698 crore against Rs.11,559 crore. Deliveries rose 13 per cent to 7.48 million tonnes.

H. M. Nerurkar, Managing Director, Tata Steel, said “despite the weakening market conditions last year, the Indian operations posted strong growth in production and deliveries. But, we do not see any change in the environment. The automobile industry is challenging but we continue to focus on it and the SME segment as one of the key areas to drive volumes”.

In Europe, Tata Steel reported an operating profit of Rs.764 crore against Rs.1,777 crore (including one-time gain of Rs.1,380 crore) on a turnover of Rs.78,012 crore (Rs.82,153 crore). According to Mr. Kohler, “We are consistently working to improve our cost position and differentiate our products”.

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