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Tata Steel sees demand in Europe recovering this year

NEW DELHI: Tata Steel LtdBSE 5.22 % said it expects demand to recover by the end of the year in Europe, where it derives two-thirds of its 27 million-tonne annual capacity. 

The positive outlook marks a turnaround for the company following May's $1.6 billion writedown for the region due to weak demand. 

India's biggest steelmaker got a foothold in Europe when it paid $13 billion for Anglo-Dutch steelmaker 
Corus in 2007. It operates two major integrated steel plants in theUnited Kingdom and one in IJmuiden, in theNetherlands. 

"There have recently been encouraging signs of improving economic conditions in some European economies, the UK in particular," said 
Tata SteelBSE 5.22 % Europe's Chief Executive Karl-Ulrich Kohler. 

But in India Tata said 
market conditions had worsened, but added that a fall in the rupee was cushioning weak domestic prices. 

Indian steelmakers face a shortage of raw materials, such as iron ore, and rising shipments from neighbouring countries. 
Imports rose 15 percent to an all-time high of 7.87 million tonnes in the year to March 2013. 

A fall in rupee, which has declined more than 10 percent this year and hit a record low of 61.80 last week, makes imports less competitive and helps exports. 

Tata Steel did not specify the benefits of the weak rupee, and 
Chief Financial OfficerKoushik Chatterjee did not immediately reply to requests for comment. 

"Auto sector challenges continue along with the seasonal weakness in construction," the company said in a presentation after reporting June quarter net profit that nearly doubled and beat estimates on lower costs. 

Chairman Cyrus Mistry said in June that volatile raw material prices and weak demand in key markets would be "challenging" for the company over the next two years.