Call to back UK as Tata unveils $2.7bn profits

Union leaders yesterday pressed steel giant Tata to guarantee the future of its UK workforce after the firm announced pre-tax profits of $2.7 billion (£1.6bn) in the year to March.

The profit haul followed the sale of its Teesside Cast Products (TCP) facility, which was mothballed in February 2010, for $469 million. The company, which last week announced 1,500 job losses in its "long products" division, said the TCP sale, coupled with higher selling prices, helped lift the fourth-quarter performance.

Tata Steel Europe chief executive Dr Karl-Ulrich Kohler said: "Our encouraging fourth- quarter performance consolidated the turnaround in the European operations achieved during the year. Higher selling prices and deliveries gave us a particularly strong end to the quarter, with additional one-off financial benefits from items such as the completion of the Teesside Cast Products sale.

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"Our strategy, founded on four building blocks of market differentiation, technical innovation, cost leadership and operational excellence, is starting to deliver early successes as we focus on customer relationships."

Michael Leahy, general secretary of the Community union, said: "This is a massive turn around compared to previous years and is due, in no small part, to the efforts and co-operation of the workforce.

"Tata must now repay this in kind by guaranteeing all its UK employees that they have a secure future."