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Indian steelmaker Sail adds more capacity

10 May 2018 07:58 (+01:00 GMT)
Indian steelmaker Sail adds more capacity

Singapore, 10 May (Argus) — State-controlled Indian steelmaker Sail has raised its capacity by blowing in the refurbished No.1 blast furnace at its Rourkela steel plant in the eastern state of Odisha.

Pig iron production capacity at the blast furnace, which was commissioned in 1959, has been upgraded to 1.01mn t/yr from 438,000 t/yr previously.

Sail earlier this year completed a decade-long expansion project to increase crude steel capacity to 21.4mn t/yr from 14mn t/yr, making it the country's largest steel producer. The new No.8 blast furnace with 2.8mn t/yr capacity was blown in at its Bhilai steel plant in central India in February, the final step in expanding its primary steel output. Sail is expected to start operating a new steel melting shop at the Bhilai plant soon.

The refurbishment of the Rourkela blast furnace was not part of the expansion project and will further add to its capacity.

The company expects to ramp up production over the next 3-4 years and produce 21mn t of crude steel in the April 2020 to March 2021 financial year. It produced 11.02mn t of crude steel in April-December 2017.

But the capacity increase has so far failed to turn around the company's finances. Sail made losses in 2015-16 and 2016-17 and the first three quarters of the 2017-18 financial year. It aims to increase its sales volumes by 10pc/yr over the next few years to boost revenue and turn profitable.