A STEEL firm says it expects its good momentum to continue after better prices galvanised its progress.

Tata Steel has revealed year-on-year revenues were 18 per cent higher in the three months to December 31.

Deliveries were also higher compared to 12 months ago but down six per cent on a quarter-by-quarter basis owing to seasonality and plant outages used to install upgrades for the production of higher-end goods.

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

Speaking today (Friday, February 9), T V Narendran, chief executive and managing director, said the rising value of steel internationally had given the business a welcome boost.

He said: “Global steel prices have been buoyant with an improved trade position in China and cost push from raw materials.

“Over the last nine months, we delivered strong consolidated operational performance across geographies and we expect this momentum to continue as markets are expected to remain favourable.”

Tata Steel’s North-East presence has changed over recent months, though officials say it remains 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 Port Talbot, Wales, and vowed to spend £2m to continue work on high-strength tubing for construction and machinery that will safeguard 270 jobs.

According to its plans, Tata has committed £1m to install cooling equipment, which officials say will increase the mill’s range of high-strength products for the structural demands of the North Sea and wider construction market.

It has also dedicated another £350,000 to improve safety operations, following a previous £400,000 outlay, with another £400,000 spent on equipment and processes to improve the surface quality of its piping.