Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) is set to consolidate its position further in the domestic steel sector on the strengths of its sound foundation and supportive business outlook. This was stated by SAIL Chairman Mr. S.K. Roongta at the company’s 34th Annual General Meeting held at the Talkatora Stadium here today. He told the company’s shareholders attending the meet that the company’s ongoing modernisation & expansion programme, which would take SAIL’s hot metal production to a level of 23 million tonnes (an increase of nearly 60% on the existing level), was in tune with the boom being experienced by the global steel industry and the high rates of growth being established by the Indian economy and the major steel-consuming industrial sectors.
“The expansion plans are not aimed at volume gains alone,” Mr. Roongta informed. “Benefits would come by way of all-round improvement in productivity levels in all areas of operation. Issues pertaining to elimination of technological gaps, energy savings, yield improvement, pollution control, matching infrastructure facilities, etc., will be fully addressed. Wider product-mix with emphasis on value-added products, improved product quality, enhancement in terms of grades and dimensions, will be ensured with latest automation.” The SAIL Chairman added that with focused efforts in areas of cost competitiveness and quality improvement, the company’s solid financial foundation and skilled, committed and experienced human resources, SAIL is well set on its way to a glorious future.
In line with its growth strategy, SAIL already has projects worth Rs.18,500 crore in various stages of implementation. Major projects cleared in recent months include modernisation-cum-expansion of IISCO Steel Plant to raise product quality and process productivity to international standards, steel melting and additional cold rolling facility at Salem Steel Plant, and installation of a bar & rod mill at Durgapur Steel Plant. Many other projects forming part of SAIL’s Rs. 37,000-crore growth plan are in the final stages of approval.
In tandem with the worldwide trend in industry to create greater value for stakeholders through consolidation, SAIL is looking to provide added opportunity for synergy and growth by merger of Neelanchal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) and Maharashtra Electrosmelt Ltd (MEL) with itself, said Mr. Roongta. Merger of NINL will follow after acquisition of its shares. Merger of MEL, a subsidiary of SAIL, will result in backward integration by way of manufacture of ferro-alloys, a key input for steel making. “We are also at an advanced stage in the formation of a joint venture company for a cement plant which will use blast furnace slag of Bhilai Steel Plant as an input and will result in twin benefit of value addition as well as assured solid waste disposal,” he added.
Mr. Roongta further informed the company’s shareholders that SAIL plans to develop linkage with new iron ore mines in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand to gain security of iron ore supplies. “This will be crucial for attaining the production targets set in our growth plan,” he pointed out. The Government of India has reserved ‘F’ deposit of Rowghat mines for Bhilai Steel Plant’s long-term iron ore requirement and SAIL is moving positively towards obtaining statutory clearances, he added. Actions have also been initiated to augment availability of indigenous coking coal. “The future strategy for obtaining coking coal from domestic sources will be to develop larger productive coking coal mines so that the base material has a high level of homogeneity,” said the Chairman.
In reply to a shareholder’s query on how SAIL would finance the massive investment plan of over Rs. 9,500 crore for IISCO Steel Plant (ISP), Mr. Nilotpal Roy, Managing Director of the plant, said that funds would be generated mainly from internal resources. “ISP will become one of the finest long product plants,” he remarked, while stating that the investment was aimed at improving product quality and process productivity at the plant to international levels.