New Delhi: The steel ministry expects Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) to show profit next year on the back of continued improvement in global commodity market.

The country’s largest steelmaker has been posting losses since 2015-16, mainly on account of slowdown in the sector. In 2015-16, SAIL had posted a loss of Rs4,021 crore, while in 2016-17 its loss was Rs2,833 crore. SAIL’s standalone net loss had narrowed to Rs539.06 crore for the quarter ended 30 September.

“This year, these two PSUs (SAIL and RINL) have reduced their losses. Next year, hopefully they will be making into profits," steel secretary Aruna Sharma told PTI.

Stating that five of the seven steel PSUs, including NMDC, MOIL and MSTC, are well established, the secretary said the vision of the PSUs and their action plans are very clear. “So, they will be on their growth path as they are moving ahead with it. That is very very clear," the secretary said.

In a stern warning, steel minister Chaudhary Birender Singh in the beginning of this year had asked PSUs, including SAIL, to “perform or perish" saying complacency cannot be tolerated at a time when private players are excelling on various parameters.

Chairing a meeting of chiefs of top steel PSUs, the minister pulled up public sector firms like SAIL and RINL (Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd) for not only lagging behind on international benchmarks, but were behind their private counterparts and complacent in ramping up capacities.

Also indicting SAIL for slow progress in modernisation as well as ramping up of capacity, the minister had said deadlines were missed one after another which cannot be tolerated anymore, according to the ministry sources.