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Tata Steel's brighter outlook despite Chinese imports

Tata Steel says its European operations are being challenged by increasing imports from China, but the division has reported an improved financial performance in the second quarter of 2014.

The detail comes in financial results for the first half of Tata’s financial year and the quarter which ended on 30 September. They include the operating result (EBIT) for the first half of the year of £24.9m, up from a loss of £14m for the same period a year before.

“The European operations maintained the level of year-on-year improvement in financial performance established in the first quarter. Production and deliveries were higher than in the first quarter, despite extended summer shutdowns,” the company said in a press release.

Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata’s European operations, said: “Our financial performance again showed how our product portfolio enhancement continues to build on the progress we have made so far.

“We are on track with our new product launch plans and with our programme to raise the proportion of differentiated products in our sales.

“There are headwinds constraining steel demand growth globally and in Europe. We are increasingly concerned about the impact on EU steel makers of rising import , particularly from China, which is responsible for most of the additional imports.”

Tata is currently looking for a buyer for its Long Products Europe business, and Koehler said the move would enable the company to focus more on high-value strip steel customers.

“We will treat affected employees fairly and with respect throughout the due diligence process, and will consult fully with their representatives,” he added.

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