Tata Steel Q3 Net Profit Slides 56%

Sales fell 4%

Tata Steel, the world's sixth-largest steel maker, said third-quarter net profit from its Indian operations slid by 56.3% on lower demand. The Mumbai-based company, India's biggest steel producer, said stand-alone net profit fell to 4.66 billion rupees (US$95 million) for the three months to December from 10.68 billion rupees a year earlier.

Tata Steel, which acquired British-Dutch company Corus for $13.7 billion in 2007, said that net sales fell 3.9% to 47.35 billion rupees for the quarter.

Analysts said they expect steel prices to remain subdued due to the widening global recession which has cut demand from everything from cars to housing to appliances. "We have a bearish view for the steel sector," said Apurva Shah, head of research at brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher. "With the slowdown seen across global markets, demand for steel will be impacted. Shah said.

Steel prices have slid since mid-2008 with the price of European hot-rolled coil steel, an industry benchmark, tumbling by nearly 50% to around $430 a metric ton, according to industry data.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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