JSW Steel to boost long steel capacity to tap infrastructure boom

As the company increases production, raw material security is also on its radar

steel company, steel firms, ArcelorMittal, JSW Steel

Ishita Ayan Dutt Kolkata

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JSW Steel will step up the share of long products in its portfolio to cater to the demand from the infrastructure sector.

JSW Steel’s whole-time director and chief operating officer (COO) G S Rathore said that in a developing economy, more long steel is consumed because of infrastructure building.

He said, “We are in a situation where we will consume more long steel.”

Long steel products are used for large-scale infrastructure projects and construction, among others.

Rathore said that for JSW, historically, the ratio of long products has been lower because the company started with cold rolling, galvanizing and downstream products.

“So, we wanted more hot rolled coil (HRC),” Rathore added. He was speaking on the sidelines of a conference on long products, organised by Steel & Metallurgy.

HRC is a benchmark for flat steel that goes into auto, electrical appliances, building and infrastructure. 

Currently, about 28 per cent of JSW’s capacity is in long steel and the balance in flat. As it steps up production, the target is to take the share of long steel to 35 per cent.

JSW Steel’s domestic crude steel capacity (including Bhushan Power & Steel and JSW Ispat Special Products) is at 27.7 million tonnes (mt). By FY25, it will reach 37 mt, and by the turn of the decade, there are plans to take the capacity to 50 mt.

Rathore said there are three options for the expansion from 37 mt to 50 mt — the capacity at Dolvi (Maharashtra) can be increased from 10 to 15 mt, “Vijaynagar (Karnataka) can expand from 19 to 24 mt — the land is available and approvals are in place; Jharsuguda (Odisha) can expand from 5 to 10 mt.”

Acquisition opportunities may also come up. JSW Steel has shown interest in NMDC Steel Plant, which is undergoing a strategic sale process.

But he pointed out that there were enough options for growth at JSW’s existing sites.

The target, Rathore said, was to enhance the share of long products to 35 per cent as it goes to 50 mt of production.

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He said, “We are trying to increase capacity at Monnet (JSW Ispat Special Products). Our Salem plant is 100 per cent into long products, almost 95 per cent of which we make for the auto industry.”

 But in longs, JSW Steel would focus on the high-end long products.

In flat steel, about 50 per cent of its capacity is in the value-added and downstream.

As the company increases production, raw material security is also on its radar. 

Rathore said, last year, supplies were at 44 per cent from captive iron ore mines.

He said, “Our policy is that we should take it to 70-75 per cent. As and when the opportunities come up, we will keep bidding at the auctions.”

On the coking coal front, JSW Steel is eyeing offshore assets even as it focuses on operationalising its domestic coking coal mines.

In offshore, JSW is said to be eyeing Canadian company Teck Resources’ coking coal business. Rathore did not comment on it, but said, “It was still under discussion.”

He added, “As far as our raw material policy is concerned, we want to be self-reliant whether iron ore or coal. As and when any opportunity comes up, an appropriate decision will be taken.”

First Published: Aug 18 2023 | 5:25 PM IST

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