The country's leading aluminium producer Nalco has put on hold the recruitment of about 700 employees in an attempt to cut its operating expenses amid falling demand and reducing prices of the metal.
The PSU was to recruit people for manning its additional production lines in Orissa plants.
"Recruitment has been put on a temporary hold. Whatever manpower we have will be re-deployed to (run) our additional production lines," Nalco Chairman and Managing Director CR Pradhan told PTI.
The company's decision is aimed at cutting expenses all round, as the global economic slowdown has led to a steep decline in demand and prices of the metal, he added.
Navratna PSU Nalco has embarked on a Rs 4,400-crore expansion to scale up its aluminium capacity to 4.6 lakh tonnes from 3.5 lakh tonnes by August.
Similarly, the company is in the process of augmenting its alumina capacity to 2.1 million tonnes from 1.5 million tonnes by March. It has also lined up the commissioning of two power plants of 120 MW each by February and June, respectively.
According to an official source, Nalco's board of directors, which met this week, has decided to review the utilisation of the company's human resources and deploy them accordingly for handling the increased production capacity.
Besides cutting its operating costs, the PSU has decided to take technical measures to improve productivity, which would help it save about Rs 40 crore annually.
Faced with the double whammy of slump in demand and prices of aluminium, Nalco posted a 33 per cent decline in its net profit at Rs 219.46 crore for the quarter ended December.
In the corresponding quarter of FY '08, its net profit stood at Rs 329.44 crore.