The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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SAIL firms up kitty for upgrade plans

Calcutta, Nov. 5: Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has decided to make an incremental investment of Rs 800-1000 crore every year for technological upgradation over the next five years, chairman V. S. Jain said.

The company plans to produce an additional one million tonnes of steel by next year primarily through a de-bottlenecking exercise.

“After a bad patch, we are now in the turnaround mode with a focus on stability. Using the existing resources, we will be able to generate at least one million tonnes more in the next financial year,” he said.

The chairman has also said the debt-equity ratio of the company stood at 3.8:1 in September 2003 compared with 8:1 in September 2002.

The debt-equity ratio should ideally be 1.5:1, he added. We, however, may not be able to achieve such an ideal ratio as we are looking into further investment opportunities, he said.

The SAIL chief feels that growth in the steel sector will continue to be in the upswing at least till 2007 and all steel companies will benefit from this trend.

“We are hopeful of gaining a good market share in the days to come,” he said.

He said in 2003-04, Rs 600 crore had already been approved for various upgradation plans, including installation of facilities worth over Rs 300 crore for manufacturing longer rails in Bhilai.

Jain said the company, which made a half-yearly profit of Rs 760 crore, will be able to achieve a 7 per cent growth in sales volume by a “conservative” estimate. Jain said although the company sells 92 per cent of its products in the domestic market, about 70 per cent of its export target of one million tonnes has been achieved in the first six months of the current financial year.

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