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Tata Steel to continue increase in production capacity: MD

Company will be spending Rs 35,000 crore for the Odisha project

Press Trust of India  |  Jamshedpur 

Tata Steel Managing Director T V Narendran today said his major focus would be to increase the production capacity of the private steel major even though he has several internal and external challenges to face, including the economic slowdown.

The company has given him a big responsibility as Managing Director and he expressed hope that along with his team, he would strive to take the company forward, Narendran told reporters here.

Narendran and Koushik Chatterjee, Group Executive Director (Finance and Corporate) took over their respective charges today.

The immediate focus of Tata Steel was to ensure execution of six million tonne Greenfield steel plant in Odisha's Kalinganagar, Chatterjee said.

The company will be spending Rs 35,000 crore for the Odisha project and has already spent Rs 10,000 crore so far, he said, adding the first phase of three million tonnes was expected to be commissioned by the end of 2015 fiscal.

Asked about raw material availability for the project, Chatterjee said the company would continue with available resources, but would require new linkages in the long run.

"We have signed MOUs for projects in Karnataka, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, but our immediate focus was on the Kalinganagar project following completion of the expansion of Jamshedpur plant to ten million tonne capacity," he said.

In fact, the company has made more addition in capacity during the last 7-8 years as compared to the past 100 years, he said, claiming the company had invested Rs 16,000 crore for expansion of the Jamshedpur plant when the economy was in a bad shape in 2009.

Chatterjee said, the external market situation in the past two years has deteriorated in the country and GDP growth rate downgraded, but the Centre has taken some steps during the last one year.

The effect of these steps would be visible in a year or two, he said, adding Tata Steel had overcome a similar situation in the past because of its strong relationship with customers, distributors and suppliers and would do so even now with increasing capacity and new products.

Referring to the challenges ahead, Narendran, who took over from his predecessor H M Nerurkar, said the internal challenges include the company's growth plan during 2010-20, improvement in performances, maintaining relationships with stakeholders as well as the society around its operational areas.

As far as external challenges were concerned, he said the prevailing economic slowdown remained a challenge.

Keeping in view the performance of the company in the last three quarters, Narendran said, the company was doing well and its sales were 15 to 20 per cent higher than the previous corresponding period.

"It was all because of strong relationship with our customers, distributors, suppliers and commitment of employees to excel even in difficult situations," he said.

Referring the prices of the steel, the new MD said steel prices would fluctuate depending on the international market.

Narendran claimed inventory at the company premises was at the lowest as the company sells what it produces and there was a target to produce one million tonnes more steel than the previous year and nine million tonnes this year.

Tata Steel has infrastructure development projects, including eastern and western corridors in Jamshedpur and an international airport in the vicinity of the city to execute, but was waiting for government clearances, he said.

While the western corridor was delayed due to the onset of monsoons and expected to start soon, Narendran strongly favoured an international airport, which the Tata Board had already approved.

Tata Steel has plans to invest over Rs 50,000 crore in eastern India between 2010-16, Chatterjee added.

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First Published: Fri, November 01 2013. 18:50 IST