Jamshedpur : Private steel major Tata Steel on Sunday expressed confidence that the situation would be back to normal in the next quarter after the company’s performance was impacted temporarily in November last owing to demonetisation.
December was much better month for Tata Steel than November last affected due to demonetisation, the company’s Managing Director (India and South East Asia) T V Narendran said. The steel industry in the country had gone through a difficult time during the last two years, when the sector faced many challenges from the international market, he said claiming that the situation had also affected steel sector in China in 2015. The union government had intervened and supported the domestic steel sector when a lot of steel was coming into the country including the dumping of steel from China in 2015, he said.
In fact, one million tonne of steel was coming in from China every month during the period when the government had felt that it would be unfair for them if no immediate steps were taken to protect the domestic steel sector, he said. Appreciating the initiatives of the government, Narendran said the steel sector had played an important role in the development of the country and it had invested Rs three hundred thousand crore in the country during the last ten years.
Hailing the government initiatives to protect steel sector, Narendran said it had helped the situation to improve from the beginning of 2016 when even the international market had started picking up. However, the increased cost of coal and iron-ore during last three/four months had put cost pressure on the company, besides demonetisation being another issue affecting the performance of the company, Narendran said.
The company had 5 to 8 per cent impact in the rural market owing to demonetisation in November, but the situation was much better in December, Narendran further said. The demonetisation had impacted the company’s performance in rural market, which was a cash-based, he said assuring that Tata Steel had taken initiative to address the problem.
“Our 1000 dealers have been asked to install PoS/credit/debit card swipe machines to promote electronic payment in rural pockets,” he said. He assured that Tata Steel, which had invested and engaged with communities in good and bad times, would continue to invest to create jobs.
The focus of the company in 2017 was on improving productivity, he added. Referring Kalinganagar (Odisha) project as a major greenfield project after its Jamshedpur plant, Narendran expressed satisfaction that the commissioning of the plant was going on better than planned.
Expressing satisfaction over the performance of the Odisha project, he said the production in the Kalinganagar project was expected to cross the 2 million tonnes in the current fiscal.