Steel boss warns of more changes as Tata’s quarterly results are revealed

Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID
Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

The European boss of Tata Steel has indicated more changes for the hard-hit company as foreign imports continue to hit hard.

Tata Steel’s results for the last quarter of 2015 were revealed today.

Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

The European figures show turnover slumped to £1.6 billion compared to £1.9 billion a year earlier.

Production of liquid steel fell to 3.56 million tonnes from 3.74 million tonnes at the same time in 2014.

Dr Karl-Ulrich Köhler, the managing director and chief executive of Tata Steel in Europe, said: “Growing European steel demand continues to be undermined by a flood of imports into the region.

“Chinese steel shipments into Europe leapt more than 50% last year, while imports from Russia and South Korea jumped 25% and 30% respectively.”

Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

He said the European Steel Association had already identified that Chinese steel is being exported at prices below the cost of production.”

Dr Köhler added: “This unfair trade is undercutting domestic producers and harming the European steel industry which employs many thousands of people and is at the foundation of much of the region’s cutting-edge innovation.

“That’s why we are calling on the European Commission and national governments to speed up and strengthen action against unfair trade.

“This perfect storm caused the deterioration of our financial performance in the last quarter and led to us announcing restructuring in the UK where our operations also face higher regulatory costs. These changes will continue to be a core focus in a bid to improve our competitiveness and enable us to concentrate on supplying higher-value products to customers.

“Making our customers more successful is key to our long-term differentiation strategy. With another 30 new product launches this year, we are making progress.”

Just last month, Tata Steel confirmed it was slicing 1,050 jobs off its UK operation.

That included its Brenda Road site in Hartlepool which will shed 62 posts out of a town workforce of 500 steelworkers