SAIL reports 9% growth in crude steel production

MUMBAI: State-owned Steel Authority of India reported a 9% growth in crude steel production for the December quarter of FY21 at 4.37 million tonnes as against a production of 4 mt during the same period last year.

SAIL’s sales volume registered a growth of 5.6% during the Q3 of FY 21, at 4.32 million tonnes.

“The first quarter was impacted due to the onset of the pandemic but gradually we have scaled up our performance by enhancing the volumes. It is heartening that the pre-covid levels have already been reached and the production has grown in the last quarter,” said the newly appointed chairman of SAIL, Soma Mondal in a statement on Friday.

The company’s domestic sales increased 9% to 4.05 mt during the December quarter and exports came down by 25% to 0.27 mt, the company’s exports during the previous quarter was recorded at 0.67 million tonnes.

“The domestic steel consumption has a positive outlook as the economy is reviving and all sectors have started to pick-up. We are confident of seizing the unfolding opportunities in the steel market,” Mondal added.

Speaking to ET, SAIL’s ex-chairman, Anil Kumar Chaudhary earlier said that the company is on a path to deleverage its balance sheet and is planning to bring down the debt levels to Rs 45,000 crore by the end of December 2020 and to Rs 40,000 crore by March 2021 from its current level of Rs 50,638 crore.

“SAIL has significantly reduced the net debt to Rs 44308 crores on 31st Dec 2020 …The company continues its efforts to deleverage further,” said the company on Friday.

Amid an iron ore shortage in the market, the ministry of mines has allowed SAIL to sell 25% of its total iron ore production calculated on the basis of cumulative production of all captive mines in a state, as well as sub-grade minerals lying at the mine pit heads.

“In compliance of this notification, SAIL has already sold approximately 2.16 Million Tonnes (MT) of fresh fines through auction during the current financial year from its various mines. Around 0.3 MT of dump fines and tailings have also been successfully auctioned during this period,” the company said in a statement, adding that this move has helped to alleviate the shortage of iron ore in the market.

Yet another top steelmaker, JSW Steel achieved crude steel production of 4.08 mt in the third quarter of FY 21, registering a growth of 6% quarter on quarter and 2% year-on-year.

While the primary steelmakers are getting back to pre-covid levels, with an increase in production of crude steel on a quarterly basis, the production at the end of 9 months of FY21 is still falling short due to the peak lockdown period during the initial few quarters and due to a shortage of iron ore.

JSW Steel’s crude steel production at the end of 9 months ending December fell by 10% to 10.89 million tonnes, as against a production of 12.09 mt during the same period last year. SAIL’s production for the period of April-December was recorded at 10.60 million tonnes, a fall of 10.33% year-on year.

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