Steel Authority of India Limited has posted a net loss of Rs 617 crore in the first half of 1998-99 compared with a profit of Rs 54 crore in the same period last year.
This loss is despite a marginal increase in sales turnover to Rs 6,794 crore in the first half compared with Rs 6,487 crore in the same period of 1997-98.
The company registered total sales of 3.7 million tonnes of saleable steel during this period, up 7.2 per cent from last year.
The second-quarter loss of Rs 305.90 crore is marginally lower than the loss of Rs 311 crore recorded in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.According to a company release, apart from sluggish demand, an increase in interest payments and depreciation on account of modernised units continued to affect its finances. Depreciation and interest for the first half of the current fiscal stood at Rs 1,415 crore against Rs 1,096 crore in the corresponding period last year.
The increase in sales has helped the company reduce its inventory level by 3 lakh tonnes in the first half of this year. The company's closing inventory was 9.4 lakh tonnes as of September 30.
The release added that SAIL plans to hive off its power plants to a joint venture company in which it would have a majority stake. The company board yesterday approved the induction of minority partner in joint venture power generation company.