(Adds context, company comment)
MUMBAI, May 17 (Reuters) - JSW Steel Ltd, India's biggest steelmaker by capacity, said its fourth-quarter profit more than tripled, helped by higher steel prices and output and government support for local mills.
The results are another sign of a marked pickup in India's steel sector, which had been hit by a global slowdown amid excess capacity.
JSW said its outlook was improving.
"Steel demand is expected to benefit from rising infrastructure spend and improving consumer demand in FY2018," JSW said in a statement.
Earlier this month, India's cabinet approved a proposal to make local steel mandatory in government infrastructure projects.
JSW reported a consolidated net profit of 10.09 billion rupees ($157 million) for January-March, against 3.01 billion rupees a year ago.
That was well ahead of analysts' forecast for a 7.76 billion rupee profit, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Revenue from operations rose 52.5 percent from a year earlier to 179.17 billion rupees as the company ramped up production from newly built capacity at its flagship plant in the southern state of Karnataka.
JSW said operating profit jumped 64 percent to 31.65 billion rupees.
The slowdown in the steel sector prompted the Indian government to step in last year to protect the domestic industry with import curbs and other measures. ($1 = 64.1000 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath and Susan Fenton)