India’s Tata Steel significantly missed analysts’ quarterly earnings estimates on Monday as profit plunged more than 87% due to a drop in steel prices amid a global economic slowdown. Concerns about a slowdown in key economies, geopolitical issues and seasonal factors led to a “volatile operating environment,” said CEO T.V. Narendran.
Tata Steel, founded in 1907, reported a consolidated net profit of 15.14 billion Indian rupees ($182.87 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, compared with an average analyst estimate of 27.32 billion rupees, according to data Refinitive of IBES. “Utilization of high-cost raw material and steel inventories coincided with a decline in realizations, leading to a decline in margins across geographies,” said CFO Koushik Chatterjee.
Tata Steel has an annual crude steel capacity of 34 million tonnes per annum and last month approved the merger of six of its subsidiaries with the parent company to improve operational efficiency, optimize the use of raw materials and reduce costs. The company, which has steel plants in the Netherlands and the UK in addition to India, said deliveries in Europe were lower than in the previous quarter, partly due to seasonal factors and subdued demand in the region.
Total operating income for the second quarter fell to 598.78 billion rupees from 603.87 billion rupees last year. Rival JSW Steel reported a surprise quarterly loss earlier this month as metal prices fell and said the imposition of an export duty on finished steel products in May had made overseas shipments unattractive. The environment should gradually improve in the second half of fiscal 2023 thanks to government measures and inventory replenishment, with margins across countries benefiting from recovery in Indian markets and favorable feedstock price movements, particularly coking coal, Chatterjee added.