With a 5 MnT expansion on the horizon, the Odisha based NINL plans to focus completely on finished and specialized steel products.
Despite its tag of being the largest Pig iron exporter of the country, it seems Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) does not want to remain complacent. With a 5 MnT expansion on the horizon, the MMTC & Odisha Government owned company wants to focus on finished and specialized steel products rather than semi-finished products like Pig iron & Billets; to add maximum value.
“One cannot remain dependent on intermediate and semi-finished products; this is not sustainable in the long run. So we’ll be focusing more on producing finished products rather than Pig iron. Even Billet is a semi-finished product. So with our expansion we’ll be focusing more on finished products like Rods, Angle & Channel etc”, said Mr. P.K. Mishra, Managing Director of NINL.
Not only these finished products, the company has also kept its options open for producing specialized steels like ‘auto-grade’ steel.
“The Automobile industry in India is growing exponentially and almost all the top automobile brands have entered India. Given that the growth will remain in the long run, there will be a huge demand for automotive steel in the country. So with our expansion plan which includes a cold steel mill, we’ll also consider entering this segment”, he added.
In 2011, NINL board had decided to make a detailed plan for a 3-5 MnT expansion and the Odisha government had agreed to arrange funds for the expansion plan. But later due to scarcity of funds, the company had to limit its plans to 3 MnT only. However, few months back the union government had asked NINL to prepare an expansion plan for 5 MnT. Last September, the Union Steel Secretary, G. Mohan Kumar during his visit to the plant located at Jajpur had expressed central government’s intensions to the plant authorities. The expansion plan will require an investment of INR 250 billion and it has been decided during a secretary level meeting to approach the biggest public sector steel company – SAIL to partly finance the expansion. However, it is yet to be clear if SAIL would have an equity partnership with the other promoters of NINL.
Last March, the company commissioned its steel making facility with 1.1 MnT pa capacity. After commissioning of the SMS, the company has started producing Billets.
Pig Iron: Positive Trend to continueNINL has expressed optimism on the global pig iron demand and expects the prices to remain high till the end of the financial year ending March 2014. The prices of both steel grade and foundry grade pig iron have increased by Rs 500 per tonne to INR 23,500 and INR 24,000 respectively within little more than a month’s time. “Pig iron prices which were at around INR 22,000 per tonne few months ago, have touched INR 24,000 and we expect the trend will continue backed by strong demand in the international market”, further said Mr. Mishra. NINL, the largest Pig iron exporter of the country has exported 0.23 MnT of the material in the first half of this financial year, the highest export figure after 2007-08.