MUMBAI India's Tata Steel Ltd (TISC.NS) reported on Monday a $477 million consolidated first-quarter net loss as it sold a business in Europe, and said talks continued for a proposed partnership to run its European plants.
Consolidated net loss widened to 31.83 billion rupees ($477 million) for the three months to June 30, from 3.17 billion rupees loss a year earlier, Tata Steel, Britain's largest and Europe's second-biggest steel producer, said in a statement.
The company, which has been hit hard in Europe due to a fall in steel demand, excess capacity and rising imports from China, recorded a loss of 32.96 billion rupees from discontinued operations related to the sale of its long products business in the United Kingdom to Greybull Capital LLP in May.
In July, Tata Steel halted a planned sale of its British Port Talbot plant which has been hit by huge losses and massive pension liabilities. The company said it would instead look for an alliance, and named biggest German steelmaker Thyssenkrupp AG (TKAG.DE) among potential partners.
"We continue to progress the conversations," Tata Steel's Group Executive Director Koushik Chatterjee told a news conference on Monday. He said the company was also consulting all stakeholders on the pension liability issue.
Tata Steel's business in Europe, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of the company's 24 million-tonnes-a-year steelmaking capacity, reported an operating profit of 8.56 billion rupees, Chatterjee said, citing benefits from a weaker pound and an ongoing restructuring exercise that included job cuts.
Net profit for Tata Steel's Indian operations rose 35 percent from a year earlier to 5.75 billion rupees, the company said. India has set a floor price to prevent cheap imports from China, Japan, South Korea and Russia, helping local steelmakers.
Ahead of the results, Tata Steel shares closed 5.4 percent lower in a Mumbai market .NSEI that fell 1.7 percent.
(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee, editing by William Hardy)