(MENAFN - AFP) India's Tata Steel, the world's eighth-largest steelmaker, on Friday swung into a surprise quarterly net loss from profit a year earlier, due to falling demand and prices in its key European market.
Tata Steel reported a consolidated net loss of 3.64 billion rupees (67 million) from July to September, from 2.12 billion rupees over the same period a year earlier, while sales rose four percent to 338.67 billion rupees.
Analysts had expected the firm to post a profit of 2.6 billion rupees.
Steelmakers around the world have been suffering from a slowdown in demand as industrial growth loses pace in emerging economies such as India and China and expansion remains sluggish in advanced western economies.
Europe accounts for about two-thirds of sales and production for the steelmaker, which has an annual capacity of some 28 million tonnes.
Tata Steel, part of the sprawling Tata Group conglomerate, became one of the world's biggest steelmakers after purchasing the Anglo-Dutch company Corus for 13.7 billion in 2007.
Corus was rebranded as Tata Steel in September 2010.
India's industrial activity has been muted, growing 2.7 percent in August from a year earlier, data showed last month.
The once-booming economy has been hit by a combination of high interest rates, rising input costs, slowing exports, and sluggish investment caused by domestic and overseas concerns about policy and corruption.