The prolonged economic slowdown in the developed world, particularly in
the European Union and the UK has resulted in a significant decline in
steel consumption in several geographies in the western hemisphere.
Steel plants are being closed or mothballed to conserve costs and to
By contrast, the demand for steel is still buoyant in Asia and Africa
where growth rates and investment levels are higher than in the West
and where new sources of iron ore and coking coal are being developed.
The demand for steel in India remains robust and in fact continues to
outstrip supply. Unfortunately, major greenfield PROJECTS which would
substantially increase domestic steel capacity are facing enormous
delays due to hurdles in land acquisition and approvals for the
necessary mining rights to feed these new plants.
Tata Steel''s 2.9 million tonnes expansion in Jamshedpur is expected to
go onstream during the Financial Year 2012-13, taking Jamshedpur''s
capacity to 9.7 million tonnes/annum. The Company''s new 6 million
tonnes/annum greenfield steel plant in Odisha is under construction and,
subject to essential captive mining approvals from the Government, the
first phase of 3 million tonnes is scheduled to commence in 2014.
Therefore, Tata Steel by 2014, would have a global steel capacity of
33.5 million tonnes, and will add a further 3 million tonnes on the
full implementation of the Odisha project.
While Tata Steel''s operations in India are expected to remain strong,
its operations in Europe will continue to be under enormous stress for
the next year or two until the Western European economy recovers. The
unprecedented rise in iron ore and coking coal prices coupled with the
acute decline in market demand will continue to negatively impact the
Company''s European operations. Restructuring and capacity rationalising
initiatives are under way to reduce costs and under-utilisation. The
real growth will most likely be in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Steel will remain the undisputed major foundation material in the
world. Its predominance in building construction, infrastructure,
ship-building, automobiles has not been substantially challenged and is
unlikely to be for the foreseeable future. At the same time, steel
consumption will be closely linked to the economic growth and
prosperity of a nation or a particular region.
Let me once again record my appreciation to all my colleagues in the
Company in India, Europe, UK and Asia for their dedication and
commitment to the Company in these difficult times. There is no doubt in
my mind that the same spirit and commitment will enable Tata Steel to
take its rightful place in the industry as one of the most cost-efficient
steel producers - as the supplier of choice in the markets it serves -
by differentiating itself, its products, its processes and its service
to the customer.
Mumbai, 31st May, 2012