India's Tata Steel Q3 Profit More Than Doubles

Sales rise 11% but earnings miss analysts' forecasts.

India's Tata Steel, the world's seventh-largest steel maker, said Tuesday its consolidated quarterly profit more than doubled as demand grew, but lagged behind forecasts as raw material prices rose.

It said net profit rose to 10.03 billion rupees (US$222 million) for the three months to December, from 4.72 billion rupees in the same period a year earlier.

The earnings however failed to live up to the forecasts of analysts who expected the company to show a profit of near 11 billion rupees.

Tata Steel, which bought British-Dutch company Corus for $13.7 billion in 2007, said in a statement that sales rose 11% to $6.5 billion.

The data included financials of the Indian, southeast Asian operations and Corus.

Steel deliveries fell 5.7% to 5.68 million tonnes in the quarter, from a year earlier.

Tata Steel's European sales rose 7% in the quarter to $4.01 billion, from $3.75 billion a year earlier.

Tata Steel Europe chief executive Karl-Ulrich Khler said European operations were affected by high raw materials costs and seasonal factors.

"We are gearing up to meet continuing market challenges by reinvigorating our strategy," he said in a statement.

In January this year, Tata Steel and Japan's giant steel producer Nippon Steel Corp signed a deal for a venture to manufacture steel sheets for automobiles in eastern India.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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