India's Jindal Steel's Q4 profit down 70% as prices fall, expenses rise

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BENGALURU (Reuters) - Jindal Steel and Power Ltd reported a 69.5% fall in quarterly profit on Tuesday, hurt by lower steel prices and higher costs of raw materials like iron.

India's steel industry, already grappling with a slump in prices, was also hit with an export tax on certain steel intermediaries last year, which was withdrawn in November.

The New Delhi based company reported consolidated reported profit after tax of 4.66 billion rupees ($56.98 million), down from the 15.27 billion rupees it earned last year.

"Rebar prices moved strongly during the first half of the quarter but corrected sharply in the second half. However, key raw materials, especially iron ore remained elevated through the quarter" the company also added in a statement

The company's consolidated expenses from depreciation and amortization more-than-tripled to 8.73 billion rupees in the quarter, while consolidated gross revenue fell 1.9% to 157.81 billion rupees.

Weak steel prices and falling demand in Europe also weighed on bigger rival Tata Steel, which reported a 83% fall in its quarterly profit earlier in the month.

However, Jindal Steel said exports accounted for 11% of total standalone sales volume in the quarter, as compared to 5% in the previous quarter.

The company's shares closed 2.6% lower on Tuesday, ahead of the results.

($1 = 81.7800 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Manvi Pant in Bengaluru)