SAIL on blueprint for growth beyond 2010

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New Delhi, Sept 21: Country's leading steel producer Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is now well poised to play a vital role in the growth phase of the country, SAIL Chairman S K Roongta has said.

''With strong financal performance of the company in 2006-07 and during the first quarter of the current financial year has contributed to enhanced cash generation and further reduction in debt-equity ratio which would provide a strong financial base to support the modernisation and expansion programmes being undertaken by SAIL,'' Mr Roongta said.

He was addressing the shareholders of the company at its 35th Annual General Meeting held here last evening.

''To contribute to the growth of the steel sector in the country and maintain leadership position in the domestic steel market, the company has prepared a roadmap to enhance its annual hot metal production to over 26 million tonnes (MT) through modernisation and expansion programmes being undertaken in all of its five integrated steel plants,'' he said.

The project completion schedules are also being compressed to the year 2010, against 2011-12 planned earlier, he added.

The implementation of modernisation and expansion schemes would help in eliminating technological obsolescence, enriching product-mix with share of finished steel increasing to almost 100 per cent and introduction of customer-centric processes, apart from upgrading infrastructural facilities in the plants to support higher volumes, he informed.

Along with additional new facilities, he said, existing facilities are also being upgraded to enable higher production of value added steel with overall improvement in productivity.

An IISI study has projected the demand for steel in India to reach 160 to 180 million tonnes by 2020, SAIL Chairman said, adding that for sustaining its market dominance in the long-term, SAIL is simultaneously working on a blueprint for growth beyond 2010.

Mr Roongta said comapany's raw material and power supply bases along with its district dealer network were being strengthened, and strategic alliances/joint ventures established with domestic and international companies for setting up greenfield steel plants, comprehensive business resource sharing, cement plants in Bhilai, Bokaro and Rourkela for utilisation of solid waste and value addition, steel-related SEZ and many others.

''To meet the growing needs of iron ore, apart from expanding existing mines at Bolani and Gua, new mines are being developed.

Forest and environment clearances of the Rowghat iron ore deposit have been recommended by the State Government and are in an advanced stage for approval by the Centre.'' As regards cooking coal, actions have been taken for development of Sitanala as well as Tasra coal blocks. Besides, the company along with other major PSUs is seeking to obtain equity in international coal blocks as a long-term security measure, he said, adding that the production from existing captive coal mines of the company is also being stepped up.

Mr Roongta said in order to augment availability of ferro-alloys, an MoU has been signed with Manganese Ore India Ltd for setting up a joint venture unit at Bhilai, ''SAIL is also actively associating itself with the Kyoto Protocol and Asia Pacific Partnership for Clean Climate Development Programme under the Clean Development Mechanism,'' Mr Roongta said.

The SAIL Chairman further said Rs 100 crore had been earmarked by the company for corporate social responsibility related activities during 2007-08.


UNI

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