On the day it overtook Tata Steel as the largest steelmaker in India, JSW Steel also took the competition to its nearest rival.
On March 26, the Sajjan Jindal-led company submitted an Expression of Interest (EoI) for Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited, the public sector steelmaker in Odisha's Kalinga Nagar, which is less than 10 minutes drive from Tata Steel's unit.
JSW Steel joins Tata Steel and ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India in the race for Neelachal. A Business Standard report said that the Vedanta-owned ESL Steel is also interested in the facility.
JSW Steel declined to comment for the story.
"JSW Steel is keen on all downstream assets that are on the block. Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd seem to have been just the starting point," a senior executive from the industry said.
On March 26, JSW Steel completed the acquisition of Bhushan Power and Steel, adding 2.5 million tons to its capacity and making it the largest steelmaker in the country with the ability to churn 20.5 million tons of steel annually. Its lead over Tata Steel is slim whose capacity is at 20 million tons a year.
With Neelachal, JSW Steel can either consolidate its lead or Tata Steel can again take the crown. Of course, others in the race can play spoilsport.
The last day for submitting EoIs for Neelachal is March 29. Neelachal is co-owned by public sector units of central and state government, including MMTC Ltd and Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Orissa limited (IPICOL). Neelachal has an annual capacity to produce 1.1 million tons of long steel, which is used in construction.
It is one of the many government-owned companies that have been identified for privatisation.