Turning the corner on financial front, mining major Vedanta today said its gross debt has come down by over Rs 4,000 crore during the 2016-17 fiscal and further reduced by Rs 6,200 crore since April 1 this year. "We have, over the past two years, delivered total cost and marketing savings of about Rs 4,500 crore. We reduced our gross debt by over Rs 4,000 crore during 2016-17 and by a further Rs 6,200 crore since April 1, 2017," Vedanta Ltd said in its annual report 2016-17. In 2016-17, the company said it performed well both on volumes and costs. "The Indian zinc operations, aluminium, power and copper all reported record production. Technical efficiencies, effective re-contracting of mining and maintenance areas, logistics improvements, and better fixed cost absorption all contributed to margin expansion," it said. At Zinc International, the report said, Gamsberg project is on track to commence production in mid-2018. "During the year, we ramped up the new Gamsberg project, which given the state of the zinc markets, now appears very timely.
Going forward, we expect a modest escalation in our capex programme, as we begin to explore opportunities to increase our zinc and oil and gas businesses," the company said in the report. "At our Namibia operations, the Skorpion pit extension is underway. We have started mobilising for the pit layback in April 2018 with ore extraction expected by the third quarter of fiscal 2018. This has the potential to increase mine life by three years," it added. On the merger of Cairn India with Vedanta, the company said the decision has significantly transformed the company and its capital structure. "We achieved market capitalisation of USD 14 billion, with inclusion in India's premier index -- the Nifty 50 from May 26. There has been increase of almost 70 per cent in our free float to USD 7 billion," it said. The new diversified portfolio will help de-risk the earnings volatility and will drive stable cash flows through business and commodity price cycles. "This will also offer greater financial flexibility to allocate capital to highest return projects, consequently it will lead to superior shareholder returns," it said.