A GREATER focus on bringing new products to market has lifted a steel firm’s income as it moves on with a North-East restructure, bosses yesterday revealed.

Tata Steel saw half-year European revenues rise 32 per cent year-on-year as fresh ranges of coated steel and tubing attracted customers’ attention.

However, bosses revealed earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were down £38m on the previous year to £89m, with higher raw material prices partly to blame.

Loading article content

The update comes as Tata Steel pushes on with a refined North-East presence, having previously offloaded sections of Hartlepool-based pipe mills, known for processing steel for the offshore energy sector, to Liberty House Group, and its loss-making Long Products division to investor Greybull Capital.

Hans Fischer, managing director and chief executive of Tata Steel Europe, said the business had performed steadily, highlighting new products as markers of its progress.

He said: “In a relatively stable market environment, we continued to strengthen our sales mix with deliveries of higher-value differentiated products.

“In the past quarter, we launched five new products, including a new range of coated steels for the construction industry, which comply with new environmental legislation while retaining the durability and weather resistance demanded by customers.

“We also launched a new tube product ideal for manufacturers of trailer axles for heavy-goods vehicles.

“Meanwhile, our continued focus on close working relationships with customers led to us securing a number of orders in the automotive sector.”

Tata Steel’s North-East presence has changed over recent months, following the sales of former operations, though officials previously said they remain committed to the region.

Under the terms of its Liberty deal, the former took on 42-inch and 84-inch mills, known as the Submerged Arc Weld mills, in a bid to get a stronger foothold in the offshore pipe market.

Tata Steel retained a neighbouring 20-inch mill, since it is linked to the company’s strip products business that is centred on steelmaking in Wales, and vowed to spend £1m to continue work on high-strength tubing for construction and machinery that will safeguard 270 jobs.