India’s SAIL posts Q2 profit on strong domestic infrastructure demand, lower costs

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL), the country’s largest state-owned steel producer, posted a second-quarter profit, compared with a year-ago loss, on Friday, helped by sturdy domestic demand and lower input costs.

Net profit rose to 12.41 billion rupees ($148.97 million) in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from a loss of 3.86 billion rupees a year ago.

Domestic demand for steel remained strong in the quarter, supported by sustained government spending on infrastructure projects, analysts tracking the New Delhi-headquartered company said.

SAIL’s profit was further aided by lowering costs of iron ore and metallurgical coal, the two key raw materials used in steel manufacturing. Quarterly raw material costs plunged more than 11% to 135.17 billion rupees.

Revenue from its biggest unit, the Bhilai steel plant, grew around 45% to 100.64 billion rupees, driving an over 13% jump in the company’s revenue from operations.

Last month, bigger rivals Jindal Steel and Power and JSW Steel reported higher quarterly profit backed by rising demand and lower costs.

Shares of SAIL settled 1.1% higher ahead of results, they have gained nearly 10% in the September quarter.

($1 = 83.3050 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Manvi Pant in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)