JSW Steel set to pip Tata; become India’s largest steelmaker

JSW Steel set to pip Tata; become India’s largest steelmaker
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First Published: Tue, Feb 17 2009. 05 49 PM IST
New Delhi: Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel is set to pip Tata Steel and become the country’s largest private sector steel producer with the commissioning of a 3 MTPA extended production line at its Vijaynagar facility on Wednesday.
“We are commissioning the three million tonnes per annum additional production line at Vijaynagar plant on 18 February, taking its total capacity to 6.8 MTPA,” JSW Steel Vice- Chairman and Managing Director Sajjan Jindal said.
With the start of commercial production from the expanded facility, JSW Steel’s overall production capacity would reach 7.8 million tonnes from the present 4.8 million tonnes (including 1-MTPA from Salem unit).
As of now, SAIL is India’s largest public sector steel maker with annual production close to 15 million tonnes, while Tata Steel tops the list among private players with installed production capacity of 6.8 million tonnes at Jamshedpur.
Hit by the global economic crisis, JSW Steel had put on hold the commissioning of the new blast furnace, which is claimed to the country’s largest furnace, for six months.
However, marching ahead with its expansion plans, JSW Steel said it has achieved financial closure to further augment the capacity of the Vijaynagar unit to 10-MTPA.
“We have tied-up the finances to further increase the capacity of our Vijaynagar plant to 10-MTPA,” Jindal said.
The steel major has already commissioned a sinter plant and two blocks of coke-oven batteries as part of the company’s Rs5,300 crore expansion project at Vijaynagar.
It intends to reach 32 million tonnes of steel capacity by 2020 for which the firm is estimated to invest about Rs1 lakh crore.
“Our vision to have 32 MTPA production capacity by 2020 is very much on track,” Jindal said.
Besides embarking on brownfield projects, JSW Steel has taken up greenfield ventures in West Bengal and Jharkhand. The company plans to set up 10 million tonne plant each in the two states at a cumulative investment of about Rs70,000 crore. The company is, however, facing problem to attain financial closure for the West Bengal Project.
“We are talking to bankers. Yes, there are some difficulties in achieving financial closure for the West Bengal plant,” he said.
JSW Steel has already cut the investment in the phase-I of Bengal project by about 60% to Rs4,000 crore.
The firm reported net loss at Rs127.50 crore for the third quarter of the present fiscal and announced a freeze on their greenfield projects, including the proposed Jharkhand plant, amid the liquidity crunch.
Last year, to tame falling steel demand and prices, the firm had cut its output by about 20% and undertook several rate cuts. But on improved offtakes, seen in the second half of December and January, the company decided to run its steel mills at their full capacities.
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First Published: Tue, Feb 17 2009. 05 49 PM IST