The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Long steel plants near profit peaks

Calcutta, July 7: Steel Authority of India’s (SAIL) long-product plants in Bhilai and Durgapur, and the Vizag Steel Plant (VSP), are set to report a combined profit of Rs 450 crore in the first quarter of the current financial year. This would be their best-ever performance.

While Bhilai Steel Plant is on its way to a profit of over Rs 200 crore, the Durgapur unit is nearing a figure of Rs 50-60 crore. VSP’s expects to clock Rs 160 crore in what would be a seven-fold increase over the profit of Rs 23 crore reported in the corresponding period last year.

Officials of the two companies say the anticipated profit surge is driven by strong demand in the local and foreign markets. “Almost all categories of long products, like rods, bars and plates, have been lapped up in the first quarter. The demand has firmed up prices and fortified bottomlines,” a SAIL executive said.

The Durgapur plant, which has been hobbled by losses, has earned Rs 80 crore only from exports; BSP has racked up twice that amount; VSP raked in Rs 109 crore.

Steel analysts say the volume of exports will go up further, helped by good demand from China and West Asia. “The first quarter is never a good one for steel. So, the performance is all the more encouraging,” they said.

Interestingly, the sharp increase in profit has come on a modest rise in production at the three plants. “This means it is the price realisation that has brought more money to the three plants,” the SAIL executive said.

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