One of India's top steelmakers, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), plans to generate a record 7.5 million tonnes of alloy this fiscal year, betting on buoyant overseas and domestic demand, a top company official said on Thursday.
Vidya Rattan Sharma, managing director JSPL, said in an interview, JSPL intends to produce 19 per cent more steel by March 2021 because it anticipates an eight-fold increase in its export orders.
In 2020/21 the company is expected to export 2.5 million tonnes, up from 300,000 tonnes' in the previous year, with higher orders from world-leading customers, such as China, Vietnam and Europe, Saudi Arabia who require flat products, Sharma said.
As the world is coping with a steel shortage, demand is robust from other leading consumers as well, he said. JSPL has already shipped more than half of its export target for this year.
"We have already done 1.6 million tonnes of exports till July of semi-finished products and plates," Sharma said.
The company has also added more customers in Europe, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since August, where demand for flat products, in particular steel plates, has risen dramatically, he said.
In April-July, Indian steel mills more than doubled their exports to meet their highest level in at least six years, fuelled by a rise in Chinese imports, despite rising tensions over the disputed Himalayan border between New Delhi and Beijing.
Steel demand in India has risen from the defence sector that requires alloy for shipbuilding and other operations, Sharma said.
"Defence demand has picked up suddenly," he said.
Other than shipbuilding, demand for cryogenic storage and load-bearing systems for armoured vehicles has been spurred in steel, Sharma said.
India is in the midst of a major defence modernisation in which, as opposed to being imported, warships, armoured vehicles and helicopters are to be manufactured in the country.
"The domestic market is very lucrative," Sharma said. "After October, 80 per cent of our overall steel sales will be within India."