Tata Steel writes down value of European assets

Tata's Scunthorpe works at night The Scunthorpe steelworks were bought as part of Tata's purchase of Corus

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India's Tata Steel, one of the world's biggest steelmakers, has announced a $1.6bn (£1bn; 1.34bn euros) writedown on the value of its European assets.

The company, which paid $13.7bn for Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus in 2008, blamed weak European markets.

Tata Steel's UK operations include works at Scunthorpe, Port Talbot and Rotherham.

In a statement Tata said difficult trading conditions will "continue over the near and medium term".

The writedown underlines the slowdown in European economies and overcapacity in the steel market. It follows a 3.6bn euros writedown by German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp last year.

In February Tata Steel's European operations reported a £50m loss, and last year almost 500 jobs were shed at the Port Talbot steelworks. The company employs about 33,000 people in Europe, of which more than 18,000 work in the UK.

The company said that European steel demand fell by nearly 8% last year, "which in aggregate results in almost 30% since the emergence of the global financial crisis in 2007".

Tata Steel is part of the huge Tata Group, whose interests stretch from tea, aircraft charters, hotels, and cars, including the UK's Jaguar Land Rover.

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