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Tisco springs a scorcher
- Cost cuts, brand focus raise first-quarter profit to Rs 745 cr

Mumbai, July 22: Tata Steel (Tisco) today unwrapped a near three-fold leap in first-quarter profit at Rs 745 crore from Rs 267 crore in the same period of 2003-04.

The announcement of the surge — which coincided with the company’s annual general meeting— set off a scramble for all steel shares on stock exchanges, where the Tisco scrip firmed up 2 per cent at Rs 363.45; the share had hit an intra-day high of Rs 371.45.

The shine rubbed off on SAIL, whose shares surged 5.79 per cent to Rs 35.65 as investors expected the PSU major to match Tata Steel’s show-stopping quarterly performance.

Essar Steel jumped 2.59 per cent to Rs 27.80, Uttan Galva 12.45 per cent to Rs 22.40, Sesa Goa 6.58 per cent to Rs 470, Jindal Vijaynagar by 1.32 per cent to Rs 10.74 and Ispat Industries by 3.32 per cent to Rs 8.71 (BSE quotes). Net sales vaulted 40 per cent to Rs 3164 crore, outpacing the growth achieved last year.

Managing director B. Muthuraman attributed the bottomline boost to a variety of factors, though a focus on better product-mix and efforts at cost reduction played key roles. He spoke about setting up a de-integrated unit in Orissa soon.

A voluntary retirement scheme for 2,000 employees is planned this year, Muthuraman said on the sidelines of the AGM. Around Rs 1,400 crore has been spent on such schemes in the last decade, of which Rs 231 crore was disbursed last year.

Chairman Ratan Tata said demand for steel will rise 7-8 per cent at home and by around 6 per cent abroad.

Answering shareholder queries later, he said a feasibility study likely to be completed in two to three months would decide the fate of its planned titanium project.

Production for the quarter increased 3 per cent to 9.93 lakh tonnes, while sales inched up to 8.82 lakh tonnes.

Exports, at Rs 423 crore, accounted for 16 percent of the gross turnover compared with 12 percent same time last year. Net interest cost fell 36 per cent to Rs 490 crore.

Tata Tele net

Tata Telecom has posted a 80 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 8.14 crore for the first quarter ended June 30 compared with Rs 4.51 crore. Its turnover increased to Rs 96.47 crore from Rs 75.12 crore, a company release said.

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