Tata loses £1m a day on Port Talbot steel as industry struggles

tata steel

Tata Steel lost more than £1m a day in the UK last year, underlining the industry’s precarious finances.

The Indian-owned steel- maker, which runs the vast Port Talbot plant in south Wales, lost £371m in the UK in the year to the end of March, hurt by lower production. Losses deepened from £222m a year earlier.

Turnover rose 1% to £2.4m, but production fell from 3.6m tons to 3.2m after one of the two blast furnaces was shut down for maintenance. Tata spent £56m during the year to extend the furnace’s life by up to seven years.

The losses for Tata Steel UK, disclosed in its annual report, come as the industry struggles to forge a future.

Tata has spent the past few years unwinding its top-of-the-market £6.2bn takeover of Anglo-Dutch steel giant Corus in 2007.

The company’s attempt to merge its European steel business with that of Germany’s Thyssenkrupp collapsed in May after it was blocked by the European Commission on competition grounds. Tata employs 8,500 staff in its UK steel business.

British Steel, which owns Scunthorpe steelworks, is being sold by the official receiver after collapsing in May. Tata sold British Steel to Greybull Capital in 2016, but the private equity firm’s attempt to revive the business failed. A Turkish consortium led by military pension fund Oyak is the frontrunner to buy it and has £300m of taxpayer supportfor the deal through grants, indemnities and loans lined up.