Liberty Group starts Adhunik Metaliks unit
Liberty Group has restarted the operations of Adhunik Metaliks Ltd seven months after it acquired the steel company from a bankruptcy court, marking London-based steel magnet Sanjeev Gupta’s first foray into India.
The unit, located near Rourkela in Odisha, is capable of producing half a million tonnes of steel when fully functional. The new management, led by managing director Uday Gupta, is targeting a turnover of Rs 2,000 crore.
India-born Sanjeev Gupta-led Liberty, part of GFG Alliance, has so far spent Rs 75 crore to bring the unit to production.
The unit, which also has a 34MW power plant, has pressed 1,500 people to work.
Gupta, who is executive chairman of GFG Alliance, described the restart as a “proud moment” for him on Thursday as the plant became fully operational.
In an interview with this newspaper in August this year, Gupta had expressed hope that India would be a hub for Liberty as he planned to weave “a string of pearls” — mid-sized acquisitions — to eventually reach a 5-million-tonne steel capacity in this country.
A successful turnaround of Adhunik would give Gupta and the Indian lenders more confidence in Liberty’s ability to expand business in India, not just in steel but in other sectors too.
“We expect to clock a turnover of Rs 1,400-1,600 crore in the next fiscal. However, I believe Adhunik could be a Rs 2,000-crore business in the subsequent period,” Adhunik MD Uday Gupta said.
The upscaling will happen when Adhunik manages to sell more value-added ferro alloy products for the automotive, engineering, energy, oil and gas sectors. “More we convert the billets and sponge iron into value-added items, the better will be the price realisation,” Gupta said.
While the initial focus will be on running the plant profitably without hiccups, Calcutta-bred Uday is not going to lose sight of aligning Adhunik with Liberty’s global plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 with Greensteel initiative. Adhunik would first try to convert the coal-fired power plant into a renewable source-based unit and then recycle steel scrap to produce steel. It may also introduce hydrogen technology to cut carbon emission.