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Rising Steel Price Sees SAIL On Expansion Drive

The steel industry is looking up and the domestic HRC prices rising by Rs 7,000 per tonne in April 2021 (they are trading at Rs 12,500 per tonne discounted to Japan landed prices) implies more head-room for price hikes. And, the PSU-run Steel Authority of India (SAIL) is in for a giant leap. According to a source, it has planned an aggressive expansion plan. The company’s plans were delayed by more than 10 years now, and were hurting its balance sheet. Not surprisingly, its net gearing increased from 0.04 times in 2010-11 to 1.35 times in 2019-20. With SAIL allowed to sell iron ore and, with most of its capex set to commission in 2021-22E, the source expects operating leverage to drive operating profit (EBIDTA) growth. One would recall that, way back in 2003-04, SAIL had launched its corporate plan for expansion and modernisation of existing facilities, aiming to increase its hot metal capacity from 12.7 tpa in 2003-04 to 20 tpa in 2011-12. In 2006-07, the plan was modified to target hot metal production of 25 tpa by 2009-10. As of now, SAIL has a capacity of 21 million tpa and its expansion cum modernisation plan is still ongoing. Also, in the past 10 years, projects have seen moving timelines. And, all this has affected SAIL’s balance sheet negatively.