The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Steel industry upturn makes SAIL optimistic

Calcutta, Sept. 24: Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) expects the upturn in the steel industry to help it break even in the current financial year after reporting losses for the last three years consecutively.

SAIL chairman Arvind Pande, while addressing the company’s 30th annual general meeting today, said, “The topline gains in the first half of the current fiscal due to high performance in every sphere will lead to a much improved bottomline. This is a direct fallout of the systematic reorganisation being implemented at SAIL.”

The chairman added that intensive cost reduction, downsizing of manpower, greater market orientation and stricter financial management have brought about visible changes in the organisational fabric.

“Financial prudence is now centre-stage with focus on customer satisfaction,” he added.

Pande, who is to retire this month, said the company has now entered a phase where it is generating surplus. “SAIL has to build further on the strong foundation that has been created for generation of wealth once the restructuring efforts are brought to a logical end,” he said.

The chairman-designate, V.S. Jain said the cost cutting measures, modernisation benefit, reduction in manpower along with favourable market conditions have placed the company on a strong foot.

“The company will be able to make a profit by the fourth quarter,” he said adding that debt reduction by Rs 6000-7000 crore in the last five years and the restructuring exercise, have considerably reduced the interest burden of the company.

SAIL, which already has much of its networth eroded due to losses in the three previous fiscals, expects to end the first half of the current fiscal with sales of half a million tonnes more steel than in the corresponding period last year.

The higher sales have been aided by over 8 per cent growth and a healthy jump in price realisations.

The company is also expected to make cash profit in the first half of the current fiscal in view of the buoyancy in the steel market and pick up in the export front.

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