Thursday, May 29, 2003
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By Our Staff Correspondent
Of the four integrated steel plants, Bhilai maintained its leadership in terms of profitability. The plant registered a gross profit before tax of Rs. 1,088 crores against Rs. 812 crores in the previous fiscal. Taking advantage of the steep increase in prices of flat products Bokaro staged a recovery by enhancing the gross profit from a mere Rs. 69 crores to Rs. 544 crores. Durgapur, though managed a net profit in the last quarter, failed to come back in black for another year. Rourkela had cut losses from as high as Rs. 645 crores to Rs. 227 crores.
The losses of Alloy Steel Plant, Durgapur, and VISL had gone up against a marked improvement in performances of all four integrated steel plants. The loss of the Salem Steel Plant was reduced from Rs. 72 crores to Rs. 45 crores. It may be mentioned that SAIL had already earmarked the three as its non-core activities and had initiated moves to divest the same.
While reiterating the company's target to register net profit in the current fiscal, the company chairman-cum-managing director, V. S. Jain, said, "The company's performance is set to improve further in the current fiscal".
After registering a 24 per cent growth in turnover last fiscal, it fell short by Rs. 800 crores in touching the Rs. 20,000 crore mark. But for the 20 per cent increase in net sales realisation, the 6 per cent rise in mild steel sales was a major contributor to the growth in turnover.
Export earnings, though doubled as compared to the previous fiscal to Rs. 1,000 crores, contributed only 5 per cent to the turnover. In volume terms, these grew by 53 per cent to 8.5 lakh tonnes.
Semis and finished steel inventories were down by Rs. 433 crores, resulting in a saving of Rs. 450 crores. This was despite a steep rise in prices of all major inputs such as imported coal (6 per cent) indigenous coal (10 per cent), boiler coal (15 per cent) ferro manganese (4 per cent) and nickel (17 per cent).
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