JSW Steel is closely watching all the upcoming iron ore mine auctions, as the company is in the final stages to acquire land in Odisha for a proposed greenfield project, a top executive said.
“We remain interested in the upcoming iron ore mining auctions because we would like to have a backward linkage,” director (commercial, marketing & corporate strategy) Jayant Acharya told ET. The company has acquired part of the land identified in Odisha and is in the process of closing the remaining deals, he said. “At an appropriate time, we will take it (the project) forward.”
In January, a news agency report had said the Utkal Steel Project at Jagatsinghpur in Paradeep would cost Rs 53,700 crore. Reports earlier had said JSW had not yet received the 2,980 acres it was seeking for the integrated steel plant.
The company has so far won three iron ore mines in Odisha, Nuagaon and Narayanaposhi in January and Ganua on Wednesday, through e-auctions. It is in the process of bidding for the Jilling block, with 70 million tonnes of reserves.
He said the company must first complete resource allocation towards other inorganic expansions, like Bhushan Power & Steel which it has agreed to acquire. Inorganic expansion is JSW’s priority now, as this will allow it to get faster returns.
The company plans to increase capacity of its cold-rolled steel plants in 2020, encouraged by a marginal sequential revival in the automotive sector, which is the main consumer of this product, Acharya said.
“We are already in the final stages of finishing expansion in Dolvi (Maharashtra). If there is a potential improvement in auto this year, we will take up cold-rolled steel plant expansion among other downstream expansions,” he said.
The government in its recent budget announced several development plans for the Indian Railways, including setting up of large solar power capacity and introduction of high-speed trains. The company sees an opportunity here. “We have already been engaged with the Indian Railways and we will continue to look for any opportunity in that. For the upcoming FY 2021, we are focusing on meeting the demands for the infrastructure and construction segments. We are also looking to improve our penetration in solar,” Acharya said.