Tata's profits shrink as market slows
STEEL giant Tata suffered a massive fall in profits in the first half of this year.
The firm's European operation is currently in the final stages of construction on a £185 million blast furnace at its steel works in Port Talbot.
But, on a global stage, the business has reported a significant fall in fortunes.
Tata Steel Group's profit after tax was £27,586,196 for the first half to the end of September.
This was in comparison to £657,235,950 the company made after taxation the year before.
The group also recorded a loss of £43,189,791 in the second quarter of this year compared to a profit of £25,037,560 in the second quarter of 2011.
Tata's European operations suffered from market slowdown and lower steel prices.
Tata Steel Europe, which employs 3,500 people in Port Talbot and around 750 people at Trostre, made a loss of £5,007,512 in the three months to the end of September.
Dr Karl-Ulrich Köhler, MD & CEO of Tata Steel in Europe, said: "European steel demand and prices have weakened since the spring and this took its toll on our financial performance.
"Our response has been to accelerate our efforts to reduce those costs that we can influence.
"We are also bringing forward our new product development schedule and other elements of our market differentiation strategy.
"We expect the benefits of these actions, aimed at meeting our long-term goal of becoming an 'all-weather' business, to be reflected in future performance."
Tata has introduced more than 20 new product development launches in this financial year across the business including high carbon steels which are made at Port Talbot and used in car springs or chassis parts which enhance strength or performance.
These are parts which need to be shaped but must retain a considerable amount of structural integrity.
A spokesman for Tata's operation in Port Talbot said no date has yet been set for the official re-lighting of the blast furnace being built on site but the firm is still intending to light it once construction is complete.
He said: "Expectations locally are very high.
"Everybody wants to see it going and the local community would like to see it going."
The town's steel works recently received a visit from Business Secretary Vince Cable.