Submitted to:- Submitted by:-
Prof. Bhargavi Jigar Mehta (21)
Vivek Modi (22)
Rahul Prakash (35)
Sagar Mahawar (43)
Pavan Singh (50)
Omkar Borle (53)
Steel Industry 1 of 27
2. Market Scenario
3. Global scenario
4. Major Players
5. Pricing Strategy
6. Important Policy Measures
7. Duties and Levies on Steel
8. FDI Rule, Competitors & FII in
9. Role of Government
10.Opportunities For Growth
11.Case Study :- Tata & Corus
Steel Industry 2 of 27
Steel plays a vital role in accelerating growth and development of a nation. It is
used as a basic material in the manufacture of metal products, electrical machinery,
transport equipment, textile, etc and thus considered to be the backbone of the human
civilization. It is a product of large and technologically advanced industry having strong
forward and backward linkages in terms of material flow and income generation. In other
words, the production and per capita consumption of steel is a major contributor to a
country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and an indicator of its industrial and economic
strength. Iron ore, manganese ore and chrome ore are the critical raw material inputs for
the steel industry. Their timely and assured availability in adequate quantity and quality,
on long term basis, is a prerequisite for the rapid and orderly growth of the sector.
India is the eighth largest crude steel producing country in the world. It is endowed with
richest iron and coal ore mines. Its cost of production of steel is comparatively much
lower than that in other countries. It has several advantageous features which gives the
dominant position to its steel industry on the world map. Some of these are:-
I. Establishment of new state-of-the-art steel plants in the country with lesser
dependence on external aid
II. Continuous modernization as well as implementation of de-bottlenecking and
technology upgradation schemes in the older plants
III. Improvement in energy efficiency of the plants in terms of coke rate and power
IV. Utilization of better quality raw materials, such as imported coking coal, accessed
from global sources
V. Optimum processing of raw materials like washing of coal, beneficiation and
sintering of iron ore etc.
Steel Industry 3 of 27
• After liberalization, there have been no shortages of steel materials in the country.
• Apparent consumption of finished (carbon) steel increased from 14.84 Million
Tonnes in 1991-92 to 43.471 million tonnes (Provisional) in 2006-07. During
April-June, 2007, apparent consumption of finished (carbon) steel was 10.103
million tonnes(Provisionally estimated)
• Steel industry that was facing a recession for some time has staged a turnaround
since the beginning of 2002.
• Efforts are being made to boost demand.
• China has been an important export destination for Indian steel.
• The steel industry is buoyant due to strong growth in demand particularly by the
demand for steel in China.
Steel Industry 4 of 27
The Asian countries have their respective dominance in the production of the steel
all over the world. India being one among the fastest growing economies of the world has
been considered as one of the potential global steel hub internationally. Over the years,
particularly after the adoption of the liberalization policies all over the world, the World
steel industry is growing very fast.
Steel Industry is a booming industry in the whole world. The increasing demand for it
was mainly generated by the development projects that have been going on along the
world, especially the infrastructural works and real estate projects that has been on the
boom around the developing countries. Steel Industry was till recently dominated by the
United Sates of America but this scenario is changing with a rapid pace with the Indian
steel companies on an acquisition spree. In the last one year, the world has seen two big
M&A deals to take place :-
The Mittal Steel, listed in Holland, has acquired the world's largest steel company called
Arcelor Steel to become the world's largest producer of Steel named Arcelor-Mittal.
Tata Steel of India or TISCO (as listed in BSE) has acquired the world's fifth largest steel
company, Corus, with the highest ever stock price.
It has been observed that Steel Industry has grown tremendously in the last one and a half
decade with a strong financial condition. The increasing needs of steel by the developing
countries for its infrastructural projects have pushed the companies in this industry near
their operative capacity.
Steel Industry 5 of 27
The most significant growth that can be seen in the Steel Industry has been observed
during the period 1960 to 1974 when the consumption of steel around the whole world
doubled. Between these years, the rate at which the Steel Industry grew has been recorded
to be 5.5 %. This roaring market saw a phase of deceleration from the year 1975 which
continued till 1982. After this period, the continuous fall slowed down and again started
its upward movement from the early 1990s.
Steel Industry is becoming more and more competitive with every passing day. During
the period 1960s to late 1980s, the steel market used to be dominated by OECD
(Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. But with the fast
emergence of developing countries like China, India and South Korea in this sector has
led to slipping market share of OECD countries. The balance of trade line is also tilting
towards these countries.
The main demand creators for Steel Industry are Automobile industry, Construction
Industry, Infrastructure Industry, Oil and Gas Industry, and Container Industry.
New innovations are also taking place in Steel Industry for cost minimization and at the
same time production maximization. Some of the cutting edge technologies that are being
implemented in this industry are thin-slab casting, making of steel through the use of
electric furnace, vacuum degassing, etc.
The Steel Industry has enough potential to grow at a much accelerated pace in the coming
future due to the continuity of the developmental projects around the world. This industry
is at present working near its productive capacity which needs to be increased with
Steel Industry 6 of 27
The following table gives a clear picture upon the major crude steel producers in the
world as of the year 2004.
Country Crude Steel Production (mtpa)
United State 98.9
South Korea 47.5
In the year 2004, the global steel production has made a record level by crossing the 1000
million tones. Among the top producers in the steel production, China ranked 1 in the
Production of steel in the 25 European Union countries was at 16.3 mmt in January 2005.
Production in Italy increased by 11.5 per cent in comparison to the same month in 2004.
Italy produced 2.5 mmt of crude steel in January 2005. Austria produced 646,000 metric
tones. In Russia it increased by 4.0 per cent to reach at 5.5 mmt in January. In case of the
North America region particularly in Mexico it was 1.5 mmt of crude steel in January
2005, up by 8.0 per cent compared to the same month in 2004. Production in the United
States was 8.3 mmt. Brazil had produced 2.6 mmt of crude steel in January 2005. In
South America region it was 3.7 mmt for January 2005.
According to rating made by the “World Steel Dynamics", Indian HR Products are
categorized in the Tier II category quality of products. Both EU and Japan have ranked
the top. USA and South Korea comes as like India.
Steel Industry 7 of 27
Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is the leading steel-making company in India. It
is a fully integrated iron and steel maker, producing both basic and special steels for
domestic construction, engineering, power, railway, automotive and defense industries
and for sale in export markets. The Government of India owns about 86% of SAIL's
equity and retains voting control of the Company. However, SAIL, by virtue of its
"Navratna" status, enjoys significant operational and financial autonomy. Major units of
SAIL are as under:
• Integrated Steel Plants
• Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) in Chhattisgarh
• Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) in West Bengal
• Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) in Orissa
• Bokaro Steel Plant (BSL) in Jharkhand
• Special Steel Plants
• Alloy Steels Plants (ASP) in West Bengal
• Salem Steel Plant (SSP) in Tamil Nadu
• Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISL) in Karnataka
• Indian Iron and Steel Company (IISCO) in West Bengal
• Maharashtra Elektrosmelt Limited (MEL) in Maharashtra
• Bhilai Oxygen Limited (BOL) in New Delhi
• Joint Venture
• SAIL has promoted joint ventures in different areas ranging from power plants to
NTPC SAIL Power Company Pvt. Ltd
Steel Industry 8 of 27
Set up in March 2001, this 50:50 joint venture between SAIL and the National Thermal
Power Corporation (NTPC) operates and manages the Captive Power Plants-II of the
Durgapur and Rourkela Steel Plants which have a combined capacity of 240 MW.
Bokaro Power Supply Company Pvt. Limited
This 50:50 joint venture between SAIL and the Damodar Valley Corporation formed in
January 2002 is managing the 302-MW power generation and 1880 tonnes per hour steam
generation facilities at Bokaro Steel Plant.
Bhilai Electric Supply Company Pvt. Limited
Another SAIL-NTPC joint venture on 50:50 basis formed in March 2002 manages the 74
MW Power Plant-II of Bhilai Steel Plant which has additional capacity of producing 150
tonnes of steam per hour.
UEC SAIL Information Technology Limited
This 40:60 joint venture between SAIL and USX Engineers & Consultants, a subsidiary
of the US Steel Corporation, promotes information technology in the steel sector.
Metaljunction.com Private Limited
A joint venture between SAIL and Tata Steel on 50:50 basis, this company promotes e-
commerce activities in steel and related areas.
SAIL-Bansal Service Center Pvt. Ltd.
SAIL has formed a joint venture with BMW industries Ltd. on 40:60 basis to promote a
service centre at Bokaro with the objective of adding value to steel.
North Bengal Dolomite Limited
Steel Industry 9 of 27
A joint venture between SAIL and West Bengal Mineral Development Corporation ltd on
50:50 basis was formed for development of Jayanti Dolomite Deposit, Jalpaiguri for
supply of Dolomite to DSP and other plants.
Romelt-SAIL (India) Ltd
A joint venture between SAIL, National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and
Russian promoters for marketing Romelt Technology developed by Russia for reducing
of iron bearing materials, which is carried out with carbon in single stage reactor with the
use of oxygen.
Others major steel producers are:
• Tisco ( Tata Iron and Steel Corporation ltd)
• Essar Steel
• Jindal Vijaynagar Steels Ltd
• Jindal Strips Ltd
• Saw Pipes
• Uttam Steels Ltd
• Ispat Industries Ltd
• Mukand Ltd
• Mahindra Ugine Steel Company Ltd
• Tata SSL Ltd
• Usha Ispat Ltd
• Kalyani Steel Ltd
• Electro Steel Castings Ltd
• Sesa Goa Ltd
• Lloyds SteeI Industries Ltd
Steel Industry 10 of 27
Rise in steel prices for the past two years has been the cause of concern of many
user industries. Particularly, in some of the direct users and downstream segments where
steel component is high, the impact is a little harsh. Generally these fall under the
category of building and other steel-structured construction, tube-making, heavy
machineries, bicycles, auto-components steel furniture etc. The ability to absorb the
increased cost of raw materials depends on the individual market competitiveness, which
is characterized by excess capacity, demand growth, export opportunities and other
relevant factors. The construction sector, however, is guided by the escalation clauses in
the tenders, which may absolve the individual bidders to get away with equivalent
compensation. In India these clauses are anarchic, to say the least, and therefore the
impact of rise in raw material expenses is felt heavy in construction. That brings us to the
issue of retardation of investment in construction. Has the rise in steel cost led to a
diversion of investment from construction sector to other areas? The answer is negative.
A comparison of Gross Capital Formation in Construction and also in Machinery and
Equipment with steel price movement in the past years would show that there exists no
negative relation between the two. The availability of any basic input at a low price
always results in overuse of the material. Abundant availability of steel in Russia in 60s
and 70s brought about an overdose of steel use in many applications leading to
overweight and more use of energy. When the prices rose, some amount of substitution
took place. In India the emergence of plastic and PVC in place of galvanized sheets and
hot rolled coils in drums, buckets and pipes, aluminum in place of cold rolled sheet in bus
bodies, bumpers, auto-components, asbestos in place of galvanized corrugated sheets for
roofing, point out the similar phenomenon. The current price increase in steel may only
strengthen this trend. Apart from substitution effect, one positive fallout of price rise is
the more parsimonious use of steel in various applications, which has made the user
segment more quality-conscious.
Lot has been discussed on the probable reasons for steel price rise. This range from global
price trend which shot up regularly since Q2 2003, the increased cost of inputs for steel
making like coking coal, coke, iron ore and power, enhanced transportation cost resulting
Steel Industry 11 of 27
from rail freight and diesel price rise and burgeoning port handling charges - all leading
to a higher cost of steel to the consumer. Price of steel went down sharply in 2001 and
2002. It had severely affected prospective investment in the sector and almost dubbed the
sector as dying. Indian financial Institutions including government-controlled banks were
genuinely perturbed over massive NPAs and debt-restructuring exercise became the only
mode of interaction between these institutions and steel-producing units. A look at some
of the financial figures during the past few years for steel companies along with a few
consuming units as compiled by CMIE show interesting facts.
Financial performance of Steel and a few related Industries
Segment 1997-98 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04
Value of output (Rs.cr) 40944.9 49534.2 64934.6 76822.0
% Rise in raw material & stores expenses (%) 0.9 1.6 21.4 18.1
Interest Payments(Rs.cr) 4165.9 5367.0 5032.7 3944.9
Profits after tax(Rs.cr) (-) 1228.2 (-) 5706.4 (-) 466.8 4741.6
Total Borrowings(Rs.cr) 46461.8 51348.1 50967.6 45065.9
Investments(Rs.cr) 2558.0 4062.5 4294.6 5320.1
B) Steel Wires
Value of output(Rs.cr) 1210.0 1496.9 861.5 1003.8
% rise in raw material & stores expenses (%) 12.7 6.7 (-) 1.1 29.4
Interest Payments(Rs.cr) 77.6 80.9 45.3 41.7
Profits after tax(Rs.cr) (-) 31.2 (-) 79.4 (-) 49.8 (-) 38.5
Total Borrowings(Rs.cr) 516.9 697.1 446.8 397.9
Investments(Rs.cr) 7.0 10.0 11.1 7.2
Value of output(Rs.cr)rrr 63545.2 77298.2 76564.6 82047.4
% rise in raw material & stores expenses (%) 3.8 (-) 1.3 (-) 1.3 7.8
Interest Payments(Rs.cr) 3961.4 4227.9 3746.4 3266.8
Profits after tax(Rs.cr) 873.3 (-) 61.2 (-) 529.4 (-) 303.8
Total Borrowings (Rs.cr) 25744.8 30030.2 28248.6 27273.8
Investments(Rs.cr) 5315.3 8429.5 8098.7 8342.8
D)Air conditioners & Refrigerators
Value of output(Rs.cr) 2544.9 3267.8 2823.7 2844.5
% Rise in raw material & stores expenses (%) 5.6 4.4 (-) 0.1 (-) 2.9
Interest Payments(Rs.cr) 160.4 181.1 109.0 80.9
Steel Industry 12 of 27
Profits after tax(Rs.cr) (-) 133.4 (-) 234.5 (-) 229.3 (-) 225.1
Total Borrowings(Rs.cr) 1147.3 1250.2 862.0 1066.2
Investments(Rs.cr) 95.9 55.6 38.9 41.5
Value of output (Rs.cr) 33385.6 42321.9 46540.5 56957.2
% Rise in raw material & stores expenses (%) (-) 7.6 0.3 10.4 24.3
Interest Payments (Rs.cr) 1342.5 1447.8 1224.3 862.4
Profits after tax(Rs.cr) 1796.9 380.2 1315.0 3084.7
Total Borrowings(Rs.cr) 13142.7 14635.3 12466.5 7959.4
Investments(Rs.cr) 4190.0 5532.8 6949.3 12187.8
Keeping in view the problem of averaging in making industry-wise analysis, where, for
instance, mild carbon steel producers could have been clubbed with alloy and stainless
steel producers, the above analysis throws many interesting highlights.
High growth in value of output in steel in 02-03 and 03-04 reflects volume growth as
prices were depressed, while rise in input cost for steel was substantial. This was reflected
in negative PAT in 02-03 and nominal profits in 03-04, which could happen due to
remunerative prices in Q3/Q4 of 03-04. As borrowings maintained a significantly higher
level, it is no wonder that interest accruals were quite high. It goes to the credit of the
steel industry that investments were sustained at a reasonably high level. In steel wire
sector the negative growth in value of output reflects a recessionary condition in the end
product market as rise in input cost was also negative in 02-03 which, however, went up
sharply in 03-04 and steel cost may be one of them. The Machinery sector went through a
near recessionary condition in 02-03 when value of output dipped with negative growth in
raw material prices including steel. The negative PAT since 01-02 signifies constraints in
the end user segments. Air conditioner and Refrigerator segment has not been affected
much by input cost rise as shown by negative growth in raw material cost in 02-03/03-04.
In fact in whole of 02-03 and 03-04 the growth in consumer durable segment was less
impressive and this was mostly due to excess supply resulting from emergence of new
players coupled with lack of consumer demand. Conversely the automobile segment had
witnessed a significant rise in raw material cost in 02-03/03-04, which, apart from rise in
steel cost may emanate from rise in cost of auto ancillaries. As PAT of auto-ancillaries
Steel Industry 13 of 27
has gone up by 8.8 and 14.6 per cent in 02-03 and 03-04 respectively, it is logical to
assume that increased cost of input (steel) has been passed on, at least large part of it, on
the finished products. It may be mentioned that value of output of auto-ancillaries went
up by an average 20 per cent during 01-02 to 03-04.
When the financial results of 04-05 would be available, the rise in raw material cost
including steel, in the user segments may exhibit a higher growth. To what extent it
affects the bottom line of these industries, would be determined by the nature of
competitiveness in each industry. The prices of almost all end products are increasing and
this reflects the low price elasticity of demand in the presence of a positive income effect.
The purpose of this analysis is not to list out reasons justifying increase in steel price. As
a basic input for industrialization the affordable steel price facilitates growth of all end-
using industries. But a high capital-intensive industry like steel must fetch a remunerative
price to become self-sustaining and not to become a drag on national economy and a
scare-field for the prospective investors.
Important Policy Measures:
i. In the new Industrial Policy announced in July, 1991 Iron and Steel industry,
among others, was removed from the list of industries reserved for the public
sector and also exempted from the provisions of compulsory licensing under the
Industries ( Development and Regulation) Act, 1951.
ii. With effect from 24.5.92, Iron and Steel industry has been included in the list of
`high priority' industries for automatic approval for foreign equity investment upto
51%. This limit has been recently increased to 74%.
iii. Price and distribution of steel were deregulated from January, 1992. At the same
time, it was ensured that priority continued to be accorded for meeting the
requirements of small scale industries, exporters of engineering goods and North
Steel Industry 14 of 27
Eastern Region of the country, besides strategic sectors such as Defense and
iv. The trade policy has been liberalized and import and export of iron and steel is
freely allowed. There are no quantitative restrictions on import of iron and steel
items, covered under Chapter No. 72 of the ITC (HS) Code. The only mechanism
regulating the imports is the tariff mechanism. Tariffs on various items of iron and
steel have drastically come down since 1991-92 levels and the government is
committed to bring them down to the international levels.
v. Freight equalization scheme was modified in January'92, removing freight
disadvantage to states located near steel plants in the country. At the same time, it
was ensured that far-flung areas and distant states were protected by stipulating
that the main producers charge either actual freight or freight element existing
prior to withdrawal of the scheme, whichever is less.
vi. Levy on account of Steel Development Fund was discontinued from April'94
providing greater flexibility to main producers to respond to market forces.
vii. Iron & Steel are freely importable as per the Extant Policy
viii. To check unbridled cheap imports of steel the Government has fixed floor prices
for seven items of finished steel viz. HR coils, HR sheets, CR coils, Tinplates,
CRNO and ASBR.
ix. Iron & Steel are freely exportable.
x. Advance Licensing Scheme allows duty free import of raw materials for exports.
Duties & Levies on Steel
- Peak rate for non-agricultural products reduced from 15 % to 12.5 %.
- Customs Duty on stainless steel and other alloy steel has been reduced from 10 % to 7.5
%. Duty on non- alloy steel remains unchanged at 5%.
Steel Industry 15 of 27
- Duty on steel melting scrap has been raised to 5%.
- Duty on refractories reduced to 7.5 %. Duty most of the raw material for manufacture of
refractories has also been reduced to 7.5%.
- Duty on ores and concentrates reduced from 5 % to 2 %. In respect of Ministry of Steel
this would mean a reduction in duty of 3% on iron ore, manganese ore and chrome ore.
- The Special Countervailing Duty (CVD) of 4 % to be imposed on all imports with a few
exceptions viz. ships for breaking, coal and coke etc. Full credit to be allowed to
manufacturers of excisable goods.
Service tax rate increased from 10% to 12%.
No change in rates of personal income tax or corporate income tax. No new taxes are also
Levies on Steel
SDF LEVY- This was a levy started for funding modernization, expansion and
development of steel sector.
The Fund, inter-alia, supports :
1) Capital expenditure for modernization, rehabilitation, diversification, renewal &
replacement of Integrated Steel Plants.
2) Research & Development
3) Rebates to SSI Corporations
4) Expenditure on ERU of JPC
Steel Industry 16 of 27
• SDF levy was abolished on 21.4.94
• Cabinet decided that corpus could be recycled for loans to Main producers
• Interest on loans to Main Producers is set aside for promotion of R&D on steel
• An Empowered Committee has been set up to guide the R&D effort in this sector.
• EGEAF – Was a levy started for reimbursing the price differential cost of inputs
used for engineering exporters. Fund was discontinued on 19.2.96.
FDI Rule & Competitors
The NSP has been approved by the Cabinet on3rd November, 2005. The Policy inter alia
seeks to enhance the indigenous production to 110 million tones per annum by 2019-20
from the present level of 38 million tones, implying a compound annual growth rate of
7.3%. This requires additional investment of about Rs. 2,30,000 crores. This is expected
to generate additional employment of around 1 million by 2020.
The basic objective is to ensure that India has a modern, efficient and globally
competitive steel industry of world standards catering to diversified steel demand. On the
demand side, the Policy seeks to enhance steel usage at various levels of the economy. On
the supply side, the Policy proposes to adopt measures for removing major supply side
bottlenecks like improving the availability of critical raw materials.
Steel Industry 17 of 27
With the upturn in the steel industry, the foreign companies/investors have started
showing interest in the investment by way of investing in the existing company or in
setting up of Greenfield steel projects. In addition to above, POSCO, South Korea has
proposed to set up a 12 million tonne steel plant in the state of Orissa involving an
investment of US$ 12 billion.Mittal Steel Company has also entered into a MoU with
Government of Jharkhand for setting up a 12 million tonne steel plant involving an
investment of US$ 9 billion.
FII in Steel Sector
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) raised their stakes in most of the steel companies
while individual investors sold a substantial chunk of their holdings in the big steel
companies in January-June 2007.
Individual investors, particularly the small shareholders having less than Rs 1 lakh
investments, have sold heavily booking profits.
According to analysts, this trend is an outcome of difference of perceptions between the
two groups of investors, one is the retail segment and the other is institutional buyers.
FII holding in Steel Authority of India has gone up from 5.6 per cent in the beginning of
January to 6.39 per cent by June-end during which the holding of individuals has come
down from 2.28 per cent to 1.89 per cent.
Steel Industry 18 of 27
Similarly, in the case of Tata Steel, the FII holding has gone up from 18.11 per cent to
22.65 per cent during January-June, while individual holding has come down from 24.74
per cent to 22.2 per cent.
In Jindal South West too, the FIIs have raised their stakes from 18.21 per cent to 21.17
per cent during the first six months while individual holding has come down from 13.89
per cent to 11.51 per cent.
However, an exception is Essar Steel where FII holding remained static at 2.04 per cent
throughout the six months while there had been a marginal increase of 0.01 per cent in the
case of Ispat Industries.
Individual holding has come down in both these companies. Interestingly, while all the
small shareholders have been consistent in selling, large individual shareholders have
raised their stakes in Essar in tandem with mutual funds and also in Ispat Industries where
corporate bodies too have raised their stake.
According to Mr. P.K. Choudhury, Managing Director of credit rating agency ICRA
Ltd, :“the small investors have exited at what they thought was the right price and many
of them had actually purchased the shares at the time of public issue.”
“On the other hand the institutions, who buy the shares after proper analysis of the
economic fundamentals, are still seeing better prospect for the Indian steel industry. The
difference of perception is because the retail investors have opted for short-term gains
while the institutions have taken their stand for the medium-term,” Mr. Choudhury said.
Role of Government:
Steel Industry 19 of 27
The economic reforms initiated by the Government since 1991 have added new
dimensions to the industrial growth in general and the steel industry in particular.
Accordingly, several policy changes have been announced for the sector, from time to
time, by the Government of India. The major being, the New Industrial policy which had
opened up the iron and steel sector for private investment by:-
I. Removing it from the list of industries reserved for public sector
II. Exempting it from compulsory licensing.
Since then, the private sector has been playing an important and dominant role in
production and growth of the steel industry. They not only enhance the productive
capacity of primary and secondary steel, but also contribute substantial value addition in
terms of quality, innovation and cost effectiveness. During the period April-December,
2006, 20.5 million tonnes of steel has been produced by private sector steel units, out of
the total production of 33.15 million tonnes in the country. The private sector units
consist of major steel producers like Tata Steel Ltd., Essar Steel Holdings Ltd., Jindal
Steel and Power Ltd. (JSPL), Ispat Industries ltd. (IIL) etc. as well as relatively smaller
and medium units such as sponge iron plants, re-rolling mills, electric arc furnaces and
Under the industrial policy, iron and steel has been made one of the high priority
industries. Price and distribution controls have been removed as well as foreign direct
investment upto 100% (under automatic route) has been permitted, with a view to make
the steel industry efficient and competitive. The trade policy has been liberalized making
import and export of iron and steel items freely allowable, with almost no quantitative
restrictions on them. Other policy measures such as convertibility of rupee on trade
account, permission to mobilize resources from overseas financial markets and
rationalization of existing tax structure have also benefited the Indian steel industry.
Apart from this, the Government has envisaged considerable additions to capacity in the
steel sector specially from the sponge iron segment. It has also given licenses for setting
up electric arc furnace units (mini steel plants), which account for 30% of the steel
production in the country, producing mild steel as well as alloy steel. Further, all efforts
Steel Industry 20 of 27
are being made to ensure that the sector continues to meet the requirements of small scale
industries, exporters of engineering goods and North-Eastern region of the country, as
well as that of strategic sectors such as defense and railways.
Another important initiative, undertaken by the Ministry, has been the announcement of
the 'National Steel Policy' in 2005 which set out the Government's vision for future
growth of the sector. The policy largely aims to develop a modern and efficient steel
industry of world standards, catering to the diversified steel demands. It focuses on
achieving global competitiveness not only in terms of cost, quality and product-mix, but
also in terms of global benchmarks of efficiency and productivity. It seeks to enhance
indigenous production of steel to 110 million tonnes (mT) per annum by 2019-20 from
the 2004-05 level of 38 mT. This implies a compounded annual growth of 7.3 percent per
The increasing presence of the Indian steel companies in the world market with a wide-
ranging export basket, including technologically sophisticated products, is a pointer to the
enhanced competitiveness of this industry. They are having an efficient and strong base,
with rising level of per capita consumption, which is promoting massive industrialization
in the country as well as improving standard of living of the people. Further, there has
been an increase in the research, design and development activities, largely carried out by
the existing iron and steel plants; national research laboratories; academic institutions;
etc. The significant improvements have been made in the areas of iron and steel making
processes, upgradation of raw materials, product development, and increase in
productivity as well as reduction in energy consumption. All this shows that there exists
innumerable investment opportunities in the sector both for domestic and foreign
Steps taken to boost steel industry:
In budget 2004-05, the customs duty on non-alloy steel was reduced from 15 % to 10
per cent and on alloy steel from 20 per cent to 15 per cent. In August 2004, the customs
duty on non-alloy steel was further reduced from 10 per cent to 5 per cent; on melting
scrap from 5 per cent to 'zero' and on ships for breaking from 15 per cent to 5 per cent.
Steel Industry 21 of 27
Further, customs duty on several raw materials used by the steel sector like non-coking
coal, met coke and nickel has been reduced to 5 per cent and on coking coal to 'zero'.
To bring down the prices of steel, the excise duty on steel products was reduced from 16
per cent to 8 per cent with effect from February 28, 2004 with a caveat that the duty
regime will be reviewed. Budget 2004-05 revised this partially by increasing the duty
from 8 per cent to 12 per cent, as the intended impact of duty cut on moderating prices
was not achieved.
What is further needed:
While the increase in the domestic prices of steel because of an increase in
international demand cannot be avoided, attention needs to be paid to the problem of
adequate and reliable supply of coal to the steel industry. Efforts are required for securing
assured linkages of coking coal from overseas sources.
Furthermore, cross-border investment in captive coal mines, especially for coking
coal, in major source countries as well as investment for developing coal mines in India,
needs to be encouraged. Further, the movement of raw materials and finished steel would
need good rail and road network as well as substantial improvement in port handling,
storage and haulage facilities.
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Opportunities for growth
The New Industrial Policy Regime
The New Industrial policy has opened up the steel sector for private investment by
(a) removing it from the list of industries reserved for public sector and (b) exempting it
from compulsory licensing. Imports of foreign technology as well as foreign direct
investment are freely permitted up to certain limits under an automatic route. Ministry of
Steel plays the role of facilitator, providing broad directions and assistance to new and
existing steel plants, in the liberalized scenario.
The Growth Profile
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The liberalization of industrial policy and other initiatives taken by the Government have
given a definite impetus for entry, participation and growth of the private sector in the
steel industry. While the existing units are being modernized/expanded, a large number of
new/greenfield steel plants have also come up in different parts of the country based on
modern, cost effective, state of-the-art technologies.
At present, total (crude) steel making capacity is over 34 million tonnes and India, the 8th
largest producer of steel in the world, has to its credit, the capability to produce a variety
of grades and that too, of international quality standards. As per the ratings of the
prestigious "World Steel Dynamics", Indian HR Products are classified in the Tier II
category quality products – a major reason behind their acceptance in the world market.
Ratan Naval Tata, the chairman of the increasingly global Tata Group, has revealed a
more daring side to his usually understated personality. Barely a week after pulling an all-
nighter to outgun Brazilian rival CSN for the $12.1-billion Corus acquisition, the 69-year-
old Tata chose to celebrate by taking an F-16 combat aircraft for a supersonic spin at the
Bangalore Aero India show.
There is no doubt that Tata has pulled off a coup — Corus makes nearly four times more
steel than Tata Steel. Together, the combine becomes the fifth largest producer in the
world and the second in Europe. But to make the most of the deal, Tata has to manage
several variables including steel prices, raw material supplies and interest costs on the $8-
billion debt that is being raised to fund the deal. Soon he may also have to deal with the
sensitive issue of possible job cuts in Corus’s manufacturing plants. There are also the
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usual sets of integration challenges that come with such large buyouts. The deal may be
done, but the hard work is just beginning.
Tata group was willing to go as high as 630 pence per share in the nine-round bidding
auction. Arun Gandhi, the M&A whiz of the group, wouldn’t confirm that figure but
indicated that the Tatas were prepared to bid higher than the 608 pence that sealed the
deal. When the bidding began, he was stationed at the office of the group’s lawyer on
Primrose Street, London, EC 2A 2HS, all night — with a motorcycle stationed kerbside,
revved up and ready to go, in case networks failed and the e-mail bids could not be sent.
In the run up to the auction, Tata had maintained a low profile despite CSN’s aggressive
stance. “They underestimated our firepower,” says Gandhi, who admits that even bankers
to the transaction — ABN Amro and Deutsche Bank — were in the dark as to how far
Ratan Tata was willing to go.
The only blip, though, was the way the stock markets reacted. Tata Steel has lost a billion
dollars in market capitalization since it first announced its intention to buy Corus in
October last year. (The BSE Sensex rose 18 per cent during the same period.) The market
perception is that the Tata Group paid too much for this acquisition. Several brokerage
houses have pointed out that the deal implies a high enterprise value/ earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EV/EBITDA) multiple of 9 for Corus
versus 4.6 for Tata Steel. (L.N. Mittal paid 5.8 times EBITDA for Arcelor.) Ratan Tata
disagrees: “We believe that, looking back in time, the price today will prove to be one
that was worthwhile because the price of steel companies is likely to be even higher in the
coming year.” (See interview on page 36).
Despite the thumbs-down from the markets, the Tata Group is convinced of the long-term
synergies in manufacturing, access to global customers, opening India to Corus or
leveraging research and development for Tata Steel’s greenfield projects. It hopes these
will save costs up to $350 million per year. The combined entity could also scout for
more acquisitions together effectively — it is eyeing more buyouts in finished steel and
Steel Industry 25 of 27
But tying up the funding is the immediate priority. The Corus acquisition is being routed
through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) called Tata Steel, UK. (A similar structure was
used for the Tetley buy in 2000.) So far, the Tatas have indicated that group holding
company Tata Sons will pump in $4.1 billion as equity into the SPV. The balance $8
billion will be raised by junk bonds and senior term loans (part of it has been tied up with
banks like ABN Amro, Deutsche Bank and CSFB). These loans will be serviced out of
Corus’s profits; Tata Steel need not repay
this. This has effectively ring-fenced Tata
Of the $4.1-billion equity component,
analysts say that $2.3 billion-2.4 billion
could be tapped from Tata Steel’s cash
reserves. This leaves another $1.7 billion-1.8
billion that is yet to be raised. There are three
routes through which this could be mobilized.
First, if Tata Sons pumps in this amount as equity into the SPV, there will be a minimal
impact on Tata Steel’s balance sheet. This will be good for Tata Steel shareholders (see
‘How Tata Sons Could Further Protect Tata Steel Shareholders’). Tata Sons has the
resources to do so. Its 78.3 per cent holding in TCS is worth Rs 99,700 crore, and it
generates over Rs 3,250 crore in cash profit every year.
In the second scenario, Tata Steel could borrow $1.7 billion-1.8 billion. Analysis done by
brokerage firm CLSA shows that the interest on this borrowing could dilute earnings per
share (EPS) by 1.4 per cent in FY08. But such a borrowing may be difficult as Tata Steel
may need to raise more debt in the next 18-24 months for its greenfield projects in Orissa,
Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
The third option is that Tata Steel could dilute equity, possibly through a preferential
issue to Tata Sons. This will hurt Tata Steel’s EPS even more. CLSA predicts a 13.1 per
cent decline in EPS in FY08 if this option is exercised (see ‘EPS Unfriendly?’).
Steel Industry 26 of 27
The financial strength of the Tata Group is not in doubt. But the funding puzzle is yet to
be solved. The $4.1-billion equity component is the first bit of the jigsaw. The second
piece in the puzzle is the $8 billion-debt being raised by the SPV.
This debt has to be serviced out of Corus’s profits. This is a short-term concern. Given
Corus’s EBITDA margins of only 8 per cent, compared to Tata Steel’s 30 per cent, the
UK-based firm’s ability to service the additional debt of $8 billion is under scrutiny.
Analysts say that the new debt of $8 billion, which will be serviced through Corus’s cash
flow, will roughly bear an interest cost of 8 per cent. In other words, the annual interest
cost would be as much as $640 million. Based on results for the 12 months ended
September 2006, Corus already has an interest outgo of $400 million, which means the
total interest outgo could be over a billion dollars after the acquisition. However, after
factoring in a tax break of 30 per cent on the interest paid, (interest cost on funds used for
acquisitions are an allowable expense in the UK), the net interest outflow may be about
Corus’s current EBITDA of $1.45 billion covers the interest outgo more than
comfortably, but a significant drop in steel prices would adversely impact it and its ability
to service debt.
Brokerage house First Global estimates that a $50 fall in global steel prices could lead to
a $414-million loss from the acquisition in FY08 (see ‘Price Impact’). If there is a $75
fall, the losses could climb to $846 million. This does not seem to be just a street view.
“The world steel consumption growth is expected to slow down from 8.9 per cent in 2006
to 5.2 per cent in 2007 and 4.2 per cent in 2010,” an ICRA industry monitor said.
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