Tata Steel Reports Unexpected 1Q Net Loss

By Vibhuti Agarwal Features Dow Jones Newswires

Tata Steel Ltd. [500470.BY] reported a net loss Tuesday in the January-to-March quarter as it was hit by expenses from its closure of a pension program for U.K. employees.

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The company, which is part of India's largest conglomerate, reported a consolidated net loss of 11.68 billion rupees ($182 million) in the three months ended March 31, after a loss of INR30.42 billion a year earlier. A consensus of analysts polled by Reuters had predicted net profit of INR9.07 billion.

The company incurred a one-time restructuring charge of INR36.14 billion.

In March, the steelmaker signed an agreement with trade unions at its U.K. plants to cut workers' pension benefits. It hopes to start a new pension program soon.

The company is in the process of consolidating its European operations that comprise about two-thirds of its steel output.

Revenue rose 29.5% to INR348.33 billion from INR269 billion a year earlier.

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Officials say demand for steel in India is set to grow because of new building projects.

"Increasing emphasis for domestically manufactured steel in government projects, coupled with renewed thrust on infrastructure, affordable housing and tax reforms are expected to be supportive for demand and margins," T. V. Narendran, managing director of Tata Steel in India and Southeast Asia said.

On Tuesday, shares of Tata Steel ended up 0.27% at INR457.00, ahead of the results.

-Write to Vibhuti Agarwal at vibhuti.agarwal@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 16, 2017 10:21 ET (14:21 GMT)