Tata Steel narrows Q4 loss on back of pension provision

Mumbai: Tata Steel narrowed its losses in the quarter ended March 31, to Rs 1,168 crore down from Rs 3,042 crore in the corresponding quarter last year on the back of a one-time non-cash pension curtailment charge.

The revenues rose to Rs 35,305 crore for the quarter under consideration, up 30.4 per cent from Rs 27,071 crore for the corresponding quarter in the previous fiscal. The exceptional items that contributed to the loss, including the non-cash pension curtailment charges, aggregated to Rs 4,069 crore in the January-March quarter, and Rs 4,324 crore for the year, the company said.

"As far as India is concerned, the Kalinganagar project has helped operations, and the ferro alloys division have done very well. Benefits from exports that accrued helped the fourth quarter performance, and we expect to export over a million tonnes next year as well," TV Narendran, managing director, Tata Steel India told reporters here.

For the full year, the net loss jumped almost nine times to Rs 4,169 crore from Rs 497 crore in FY16 while sales grew to Rs 1.17 trillion from Rs 1.06 trillion. Last year, the company also sold its speciality steel business to Liberty House Group for 100 million pound. Regarding the impending pension scheme in the UK, the company said it will reach a final agreement shortly.

"Positive conversation with all the stake holders, namely the Pensions Regulator, the British Steel Pension Scheme Trustee and the Pension Protection Fund and we are hopeful of reaching a final agreement shortly," Koushik Chatterjee, group executive director (finance and corporate) said.

The key commercial terms for the Regulated Appointment Arrangement (RRA) have been agreed in principle and the RAA will become effective once agreed conditions are satisfied, he added.

Regarding capex, the steelmaker finished a significant part of its Orissa project, which was the single largest part of the capacity expansion profile at Rs 6000 crore last year. While this will taper off, the company expects a capex of Rs 7,000 crore next year.

"We have some raw material capacity expansion that we are undertaking through expansion of our mines. Besides, some environment and infrastructure expenses at our facilities in India, and a specific structural improvement programme in Netherlands, will call for a similar level of Capex of about Rs 7,000 crore this year," Chatterjee said.  

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