Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) hopes to become debt free in the next 3-4 years, its Chairman Naveen Jindal said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the India Economic Conclave 2019, he however said his company will no longer expand in newer areas.
"In the last few years, the way things have hit us, we have become risk averse and conservative. We aim to be debt-free in the next 3-4 years. This means we will grow less but we will make sure we remain profitable and maintain our EBITDA margins," he said.
He noted that the company was not keen on expanding in new areas or growing as it did initially because there is "no appreciation" of the contribution that the company has made in the power and steel sectors.
His comments come a day after the government denied allocation of a coal mine at Gare Palma, Chhattisgarh, to JSPL citing low valuation, even as it emerged as the highest bidder for the block at the recent auction.
"What has hit us is mostly the cancellation of coal blocks in 2014 and certainly after having invested around Rs 75,000 crore, we were left with no fuel source and we could never imagine that the Supreme Court would cancel all the fuel sources of all companies against the advice of CAG which said coal producers should be incentivised.
"We were penalised with Rs 3,500 crore and were left without fuel. Last 4-5 years we have learned to manage without that to run our steel plants on 100 per cent imported coal and it was challenging but we are coming out stronger," he said.
Expressing hope that there will be improvement in availability of coal, he said since India has the third largest reserves of coal, there is no reason why there should be any shortage of the dry fuel.
"It is only a matter of time, it will increase and we will not have shortage," Jindal added.
When asked about the decline in demand and prices of steel he said the sector has now started to look up and the demand is likely to come back.
"Currently, prices are low but then the coking coal prices have also come down. We are still able to maintain our margins so steel is looking good. Power demand and pricing has gone down and there is also a shortage of coal.
"However, that seems to be improving now. Also with the steps the government is taking with regards to commercial mining and bidding of coal blocks, I do not think there will be shortage of the fuel," he added.