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The Indian steel industry has entered into a new development stage from 2005-06, with an average growth rate of 12 per cent per annum in steel output, for the last two years.
Production : The rapid rise in production has resulted in India becoming the worlds 5th largest producer of steel, up by two places, on the back of 50.71 million tons (MT) production of crude steel and 51.9 MT of finished steel. The production of finished steel grew by 16.52 per cent, from 44.54 MT in 2005-06 to 49.39 MT in 2006-07.
While the demand for steel will continue to grow in traditional sectors such as infrastructure, construction, housing automotive, steel tubes and pipes, consumer durables, packaging, and ground transportation, specialized steel will be increasingly used in hi-tech engineering industries such as power generation, petrochemicals, fertilizers, etc.
In the first half of FY07 (April-September), production of finished carbon steel was estimated at 24.8 MT â?? against 23.25 MT in the same period of the previous year â?? recording a growth rate of 6.6 per cent. During this period, pig iron production recorded a growth of 7.9 per cent, at 2.58 MT.
Presently, the government plans to increase production from the present 53 MT to 124 MT by 2011 and 200 MT by 2020, so as to narrow the gap between supply and demand. However, access to coking coal will be the key to the success of this strategy.
According to a report by the World Steel Dynamics (WSD), a leading global steel information service, the Indian steel industry has entered a period of massive growth not only in steel demand but also in steel making capacities.
Consumption : Driven a booming economy and concomitant demand levels, consumption of steel has grown by 12.5 per cent during the last three years, well above the 6.9 per cent envisaged in the National Steel Policy. For 2008 it has been forecast that the apparent steel use point in India will increase by 11.8 per cent in 2008.
Steel consumption amounted to 46.14 MT in 2006-07, against 41.43 MT in 2005-06, recording 11.36 per cent growth â?? higher than the world average. During the first half of 2007, steel consumption has grown by 13 per cent. For the period of April-September 2007-08, the total consumption (excluding double counting) of steel is 21.998 MT as compared to the 19.819 MT in the same period last year (as per data from the joint parliamentary committee).
A Credit Suisse Group study states that India's steel consumption will continue to grow by 16 per cent annually till 2012, fuelled by demand for construction projects worth US$ 1 trillion. The scope for raising the total consumption of steel is huge, given that per capita steel consumption is only 35 kg â?? compared to 150 kg across the world and 250 kg in China.
With this surge in demand level, steel producers have been reporting encouraging results. For example, the top six companies, which account for 70 per cent of the total production capacity, have recorded a year-on-year growth rate of 11.4 per cent, 12.7 per cent and 9.7 per cent in net sales, operating profit and net profit, respectively, during the second quarter of 2007-08. Tata Steel, the worldâ??s 6th largest steelmaker, aims to double its returns on investment by 2012. Essar Steel is aiming to enhance its steel capacity from 4.6 million tons to 9 MT in Gujarat.
Exports : Along with growth in production, exports have increased by 6.26 per cent in 2006-07 over 2005-06 to touch 4.75 MT. Exports accelerated in the first six months of FY07, growing by 7.4 per cent to 2.6 MT â?? from 2.42 per cent in 2006. Yet, the Indian Steel Ministry has proposed an ad valorem export duty on chrome ore (Union Budget 2008), fearing fast depletion due to phenomenal rise in exports. The government aims to first meet the needs of the domestic industry.
Investment : A host of steel companies have lined up major investment proposals. Furthermore, with 13 billion tons of iron ore deposits, 5th largest in the world, and an expanding consumer market, the Indian steel industry is likely to receive huge domestic and foreign investments.
Already, Arcelor Mittal and Posco have assured a combined investment of US$ 32 billion. Also, Chinaâ??s largest investment in India â?? more than US$ 1.999 billion over 5-10 years â?? is slated to come up in Karnataka with the setting up of Xindia Steels. And going by the ball park estimate of US$ 1.01 billion investment per MT of additional capacity, the steel industry is likely to attract an investment of US$ 69.97 billion by 2011-12 and US$ 220.02 billion by 2019-20.
A shower of steel plants : While some of the investment is directed at modernisation and upgradation of existing steel plants, a major share of it is to either set up new plants or expand existing capacities. From the biggest players like Arcelor Mittal and Tata Steel, to mid-level players like Bhushan Steel and Welspun, the next few years are a time to ramp up production capacity.
The Inter Ministerial Group constituted for the steel industry estimates steel production to grow at a CAGR of 16 per cent to touch 124.06 MT by 2011-12. This is significantly larger than the earlier official estimate of 80 MT. In fact, India's steel production capacity is estimated to be 200 MT by 2020.
Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steelmaker, plans to set up two greenfield steel projects in India each with a capacity of 12 million ton per annum (MTPA).
Acerinox SA, the world's 2nd biggest stainless steelmaker, is joining hands with Japan's Nisshin Steel to build a steel plant in India.
Tata Steel, the world's fifth largest steel maker, plans to double its capacity by 2015, by adding another 35 MT capacity. India's largest steel manufacturer SAIL is planning to increase its annual production of 12 MTPA to 24.98 MTPA by 2011-12. Sinosteel Corp, China's 2nd biggest iron ore trader, plans to invest US$ 4 billion to build a 5 MT greenfield steel plant Kalyani Steels will set up an integrated steel and power project in West Bengal, at a cost of US$ 1.63 billion.
US$ 365.7 million investment coming in steel is coming up in Karnataka.
Mesco Steel plans to invest around US$ 2.8 billion in two steel plants - a brownfield expansion and the other a greenfield project-in Orissa.
Vedanta Resources plans to enter the Indian steel sector with a 5 MT plant at an investment of about US$ 6.02 billion in Orissa.
State-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) will invest US$ 5.006 billion in West Bengal. This is almost two-fifths of the US$ 13.27 billion spread planned by SAIL.
Global Forays : Indian steel producers are spreading their footprints all over the globe. With the change in regulatory environment that has enabled Indian companies to stretch out to foreign shores, the country's steel industry is getting renewed global attention.
Tata Steel has acquired the Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus to become the world's 5th largest steelmaker, adding 19 MT of steel-making capacity.
Essar Global has acquired Canada's Algoma Steel for US$ 1.63 billion and US-based Minnesota Steel.
Naveen Jindal-promoted Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) has bagged the US$ 2.1 billion contract for developing one of the world's largest iron ore deposits, El Mutun. The project includes a 2 MT steel plant in Bolivia.
JSW Steel has acquired Jindal United Steel Corporation, Saw Pipes USA and Jindal Enterprises LLC at Baytown, Texas, for US$ 940 million.
India's Steel Strips Wheels Ltd. has received an order from French car maker Renault SA worth US$ 27.56 million to supply around 1 million steel wheel rims for over 5 years.
India is poised to be the worldâ??s 2nd largest producer of steel before 2016. India's steel production will be nearly 124 MT by 2012 and that the country could achieve an annual capacity of around 275 MT by 2019-20.
As India surges ahead, catapulting its industry to new economic heights, the Indian government plans to invest over US$ 350 billion in industries related to infrastructure and construction. In such a scenario, the Indian steel industry will see a boom for some time to come.
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