A company official said that since the domestic market had remained buoyant, prospects looked good. On the whole, we look forward to turn the year into an year of turnaround, he added.
SAIL recorded a net loss of Rs 304 crore in the year 2002-2003, which is about 82 per cent lower than loss incurred in the previous year. It recorded a net profit of Rs 255 crore in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
The company is also planning to enhance investments in various projects to upgrade existing technology and has so far invested around Rs 12,000 crore to modernise its equipment. It now plans a further Rs 500-Rs 600 crore investment every year for incremental upgradation.
In the last financial year, the company reduced its borrowing level by more than Rs 1,000 crore and overall debt has been reduced from Rs 21,000 crore in 1998-1999 to less than Rs 12,000 crore now.
SAIL is also planning to exploit its full potential of the existing facilities by further enhancing its efficiencies. It has approved a project for implementation of long rails facilities at its Bhilai steel plant at a cost of Rs 320 crore.
On completion, the scheme will enable the plant to produce 78 metre of long rails and 260 metre of welded rail panels. Currently, work on the project is going on.
Talking about investments being made for technical upgradation, the official said, We converted the difficult period into an opportunity to not only strenghten the fundamentals but also to stabilise operations of the modernised unit which has started showing results.
Work is also on at SAILs Rourkela plant where the upgradation of ERW pipe plant is in progress at an investment of about Rs 90 crore.
Rebuilding of the coke oven battery 1 is also in progress with the investment at Rs 120 crore.
In the next five years, SAILs emphasis will be on augmenting the concast route, energy efficiency and facilitating production of more value added items, said the company.