SAIL will have a focus on capacity expansion & use of new technologies: Soma Mandal, Chairman

SAIL will have a focus on capacity expansion & use of new technologies: Soma Mandal, Chairman

Soma Mondal, Chairman, SAIL, talks about targets for the growth of the company, Q4FY21 operational update, price hike, debt reduction and CapEx among others during an interview with Swati Khandelwal, Zee Business. Edited Excerpts: 

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Q: As the chairperson of SAIL what are the targets that you have set to take ahead SAIL? What is your strategy for the overall company?

A: The strategy for the company is first to reach our volumes for which we have planned expansion to reach those volumes. Second, to focus on mines both quality and quantity, so that we can be able to even sell iron ores which we have got permission from the government. And, then improve the techtonomics of the plant by way of technological interventions and digitalization etc.

Q: According to the Q4FY21 operational highlights, production and sales grew QoQ. How much the realizations have improved QoQ? Also, what is your outlook for FY22 because some disruptions are still present in the market?

A: When you are saying that we have increased realizations quarter to quarter, then yes, we have increased but we have to also realize that the prices, which had reached in the first quarter were really low. So, we have increased over that prices quarter-to-quarter. Yes, today the prices are at a decade high and what I would expect in the next a quarter or two is that these price levels would remain. 

Q: What is the appetite left even if the prices are at a decade high? What is the room left for more price hike, and if there is a chance for it, then what can be the quantum for it?

A: In the commodity, we don’t look at what is the room left. The commodity prices are decided as much as steel is decided by various factors and the most important factor is demand and supply, geopolitical reasons, even the importing country’s policies and also the producing country’s policies. So, I would not say that there is a question of how much room is left as we don’t know how much room is left but I feel that the prices would remain around these levels for at least a quarter. 

Q: The Company has completed its CapEx cycle that started from FY09 and ended in FY20. Going forward, what are your target related to the CapEx and how the company is working on debt reduction?

A: Firstly, when you are talking about debt reduction in April 2020, we have reached a debt of more than Rs 52,000 crore and by nine months, i.e. by December 2020, we have come down to a level of Rs 45,000 crore and as of March 2021, we are little above Rs 35,000 crore. So, we have reduced borrowings considerably and we are still focused on reducing it further. So far as CapEx is concerned as of now in the last few years, we were focusing on the last modernization and expansion plans and the CapEx is towards it. Also, certain additional investments were going for technical improvements and improvements in the techno-commercial parameters and consolidation. Now, we will focus on the next phase of capacity expansion 

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