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SAIL: Steeling the show

SAIL manufactures and sells a broad range of steel products. Gaurav Choudhury speaks to its chairman and managing director SK Roongta on a variety of issues.

business Updated: Mar 10, 2008 02:50 IST
Gaurav Choudhary

Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is a fully-integrated iron and steel maker, producing both basic and special steels for domestic construction, engineering, power, railway, automotive and defence industries and for sale in export markets.

Ranked amongst the top 10 public sector companies in India in terms of turnover, SAIL manufactures and sells a broad range of steel products. Excerpts:

SAIL recorded a robust performance in 2006-07. What does the future look like?
Steel demand has maintained a healthy outlook across the world during 2007-08. According to IISI, global demand will grow at 6.8 per cent during 2008. In India, steel demand has been growing at an annual rate of 12-13 per cent due to increased demand from sectors like infrastructure, oil and gas, auto, etc. The Ministry of Steel has projected production of around 124 million tonnes from domestic producers by 2011-12. SAIL will be contributing around 25 million tonnes of this by 2010.
The government has asked Indian steel firms not to raise prices arbitrarily.

Your comments.
Steel prices are a function of market demand and supply, prices of its main raw materials, etc. Indian steel markets are aligned globally and all categories of steel are allowed to be imported under OGL with custom duty of only five per cent. Thus no steel producer can dictate market prices, which are governed by market fundamentals. As demand is growing steadily, there is an urgent need to enhance supply in the market.

India would require an annual 108 million tonnes of finished steel by the fiscal year 2011-12. How is SAIL preparing to meet this demand?
SAIL is already implementing its modernisation and expansion programme to almost double its hot metal capacity from the current 14.5 million tonnes to 26.2 million tonnes by 2010. All the five integrated steel plants under SAIL and the special steel plant at Salem are undergoing modernisation and expansion.

SAIL had undertaken a modernisation and expansion programme. What has been the progress of this initiative?
The implementation of SAIL’s expansion and modernisation plan is proceeding as per plan. Orders for several major packages at IISCO Steel Plant (ISP) and Salem Steel Plant have been placed. The focus of the modernisation plan is on incorporation of the latest technologies and enriching product mix.