Severfield-rowen dividend is hit as its rivals sharpen their knives

Cut-throat competition is still hammering the steel industry as the UK's biggest player slashed the dividend after a big drop in profits.

Severfield-Rowen, which erected the steel for the Olympic stadium, right, and is working on British Land's Cheesegrater skyscraper in the City, has seen some benefit as smaller competitors fall by the wayside.

But it added: "Prices remain generally tight ... as surviving competitors seek to obtain a share of a smaller market."

The shares dropped 10 per cent, or 20.5p, to 183p as investors gave the thumbs-down to a downbeat set of results. Pre-tax profits dived 39 per cent to £6.8m last year while Severfield cut its full-year dividend by a third to 5p.

Tom Haughey,the chief executive, warned: "In terms of demand, it's going to be flat for the next couple of years. We are preparing to bunker down."

Severfield's smaller rival Billington yesterday revealed it slumped to a loss of £1.7m last year.

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