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Steel industry: standing strong yet cyclical

“Any programme on improving infrastructure will have favourable impact on steel industry,” remarks B Satish Kumar, MD, SEIL
Steel industry is the backbone of any economy. If the economy is in recession, steel industry will also languish. In an exclusive interview with ACE Update, B Satish Kumar talks about economy, steel industry and the importance of government’s involvement.
What is your outlook on the status of steel industry in India? Steel industry is facing lack of demand and also troubled by the import of cheaper steel from China, low prices and higher raw material costs. The government needs to take speedy action to protect the domestic production.
Delay in government action is forcing companies to import even raw material like iron ore though there is sufficient availability in India. Procedural delay bogged down by red-tapism is the cause. We need to understand what is at stake. Steel industry is the backbone of any economy. If the economy is in recession, steel industry will also languish. Our economy is particularly dependant upon improvement of infrastructure which will also revive the steel industry and overall growth. Sadly the emphasis is lacking from the government.
It might be prudent for government to ensure a stable price scenario with respect to raw material prices like iron ore and coal with respect to steel producers. If the government looks for profit maximisation from mining activity, the steel industry will continue to suffer with the volatility of prices.With export opportunities declining, how do you see the future? Export opportunities are based on price competitiveness and for special quality steel. Focus should be on special quality steel which is value-added products.
What is your comment on the recent WTO ruling on steel export to the US? The removal of duty is a welcome move.
What sort of opportunities you expect from the new government’s smart city initiative? Any programme on improving infrastructure will have favourable impact on steel industry.
How was the year 2014 for SEIL? What is your outlook for 2015?The year 2014 has been a mixed year with state bifurcation and a devastating cyclone dominating the economy. We expect improvement in demand and prices from 2015 onwards.
What are your long- and short-term strategies?Steel industry is cyclical. We have a roadmap for growth up to 2025 to reach a capacity of 1 million tonnes of steel per annum from the present 300,000 TPA with setting up of new units in a phased manner. The first unit in this direction is proposed to be a 0.6 million TPA iron ore pelletisation unit to ensure raw material supply for our integrated steel manufacturing hub.

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