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india: ‘AM/NS India looks to expand its capacity to 40 mt by 2035’


The demand of steel in India will only go up given the country’s low per capita consumption and the government’s infrastructure push, says Dilip Oommen, the chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India). The company is looking to expand to 40 million tonnes of capacity by 2035 from 9 million tonnes at present, he tells ET’s Deborshi Chaki and Nehal Chaliawala in an interview. When asked about the company’s plans in the acquisitions space, Oommen drew attention towards the list of acquisitions made by the company that started India operations with the acquisition of Essar Steel from the bankruptcy court in 2019. Edited excerpts:

What is your outlook on India’s steel demand?

If you look globally today, India is really leading in steel consumption and steel demand without a doubt. That is why exports have come down. With the infrastructure push and also look at the way the auto industry is growing. The construction sector is also doing well. In general, India’s per capita steel consumption is so low that there’s only one way it can go and that is northwards. There is so much infrastructure required, whether it is roads, ports, airports, all have to grow for the economy to sustain. All this requires steel.

What will your capacity expansion plan be like?

We aim to have 40 million tonnes manufacturing capacity by 2035. Right now, we are producing close to 8 million tonnes per annum (from 9 MTPA capacity) at Hazira. As we speak, we are doubling our capacity to 15 million tonnes and then to 22. And then in the next phase we will have greenfield expansion in Odisha. We are currently a flat steel manufacturer. We will certainly go into long products. We are exploring both organic and inorganic approaches.

Several acquisition opportunities are coming up. Will you be looking at those?Let history speak for itself. We have already acquired so many assets. We acquired Uttam Galva. We acquired Indian Steel. We acquired the port assets, power assets, and slurry pipelines from Essar. As we forge ahead on our path of expansion, we will continue to explore new acquisition opportunities.A lot of players are getting into value-added steel, especially now with the PLI scheme. What are your plans on that front?

When we talk about expansion, clearly, our primary focus is value added products and import substitution. I’ve already said that one of the good ways of going green is to reduce the thickness of steel and go for higher strength but thinner steel. For example, for an automobile, it will reduce the fuel consumption as you reduce the weight of the steel used. While we are doubling our upstream steelmaking capacity, we are simultaneously investing in high-end auto products and high-end galvanised products, and this will keep on going. We will come up with products not seen in India.

What is the situation on steel imports?

We have alerted the govt as well on this, that with slowdown in the market globally, countries are increasingly putting up trade barriers and a lot of countries are facing problems with their exports. Whether it’s Japan, oe China, their exports have suffered.


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