Steel major Tata Steel today said it is optimistic about prospects of the domestic steel sector, and hopes to ramp up the production capacity of its Kalinganagar plant to capture growing opportunities. Addressing shareholders at the company’s 110th annual general meeting here, Tata Steel chairman N Chandrasekaran said the global steel demand is expected to grow at 1.3 per cent in 2017 and 0.9 per cent in 2018. The demand for steel in China will remain flattish while in Euro zone it will be mildly positive. Steel demand in the country is expected to grow significantly at 6-7 per cent per annum in the next two years, he said.
“We are optimistic of 2017-18 being a better year for the domestic steel industry and we are set to capture these opportunities. We will endeavour to ramp up our production capacity, particularly at Kalinganagar, and leverage our new and differentiated product range,” Chandrasekaran said. The plant achieved the fastest ramp-up for a greenfield project and it will be an important growth driver for the company, he said. The company intends to enhance its focus on innovation, research and development, technology, digital transformation and employee engagement.
“While we performed well this year, we must bear in mind that the steel industry is highly cyclical and we will continue to be impacted by macroeconomic volatility,” he said. Commenting on challenges, he said the company’s consolidated debt is Rs 83,014 crore and it needs to work towards reducing it to a long-term sustainable level. The company also needs to focus on building sustainable European operations, Chandrasekaran said. In the domestic market, Tata Steel’s deliveries grew by 15 per cent, significantly better than the broader market and reached a level of 11 million tons. “We expect to increase this further to around 12.5 million tonnes this year,” he said.
In Europe, while the company’s deliveries declined by 9 per cent compared to the previous year, its revenues in British pound terms increased by 9 per cent. This was predominantly driven by 20 per cent increase in the average revenue per tonne, he said. Last year, the company took several strategic decisions to strengthen its European portfolio, he said.