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Abhyuday Jindal wants Jindal Stainless to be among the Top 5 stainless steel makers in the world

Abhyuday Jindal wants Jindal Stainless to be among the Top 5 stainless steel makers in the world

Jindal Stainless MD Abhyuday Jindal reveals how his company stayed on top of things despite difficult market conditions

Jindal Stainless MD Abhyuday Jindal reveals how his company stayed on top of things despite difficult market conditions Jindal Stainless MD Abhyuday Jindal reveals how his company stayed on top of things despite difficult market conditions

Stainless steel—often called the metal for nation building—is being increasingly used for architecture, building and construction activities, automobiles, transportation, railways, and even space, all over the world. However, the export duty of 15 per cent on steel and stainless steel, which was recently rolled back by the government, dampened business operability, says Abhyuday Jindal, MD of Jindal Stainless Ltd (JSL). In an exclusive interaction with BT, the 33-year-old talks about JSL’s strategy that helped it climb 59 ranks in the BT500 2022 list to 370, the benefits of its upcoming merger with Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Ltd or JSHL, expansion plans and more. Edited excerpts:

Despite rising input costs and export duties, what was the strategy that worked for you?

The April-June quarter was quite challenging because there were two or three external factors that came into effect. First, the commodity cycle was on a downward trend. All raw material prices were falling. When that starts happening, the whole economy, and the world, go into a kind of ‘destocking’ mode. There is pressure to sell volumes, [and] there is pressure on margins.

[At the] same time, our government came up with this 15 per cent export duty. That was a double whammy for companies like us. Prices were coming down anyway, and with the [imposition of] export duty, it became unviable for Indian companies to export.

There are certain sizes [of stainless steel products] that we had created only for the export segment... these had to be pushed to the domestic market [after the imposition of export duty]. One positive is that our company is very agile. We are not dependent on any industry or segment for more than 15-20 per cent [of our volumes]. For example, the auto segment was severely impacted because of the semiconductor crisis in the past two years. And auto is a big sector for us, but our volumes were not impacted because whatever shortfall there was in auto, we were very easily able to push that into other sectors... With this export duty coming in, we were not able to export the volumes that we were [doing earlier]. So we pushed our volumes into sectors we were not very aggressive about [earlier]. There was a small dip in volumes [in the April-June quarter] compared to Q4FY22, but overall we were able to maintain our volumes. Our margins were impacted by the export duty, because everybody was buying only for the domestic market. And I think that was the impact the government wanted.

What percentage of your business is exports?

Our share of exports before the pandemic was 20-25 per cent. During the pandemic, it increased to about 30 per cent. However, after the imposition of export duty, it went as low as 10 per cent.

What has been the progress on your merger with JSHL?

JSHL was demerged in 2014. We were in corporate debt restructuring... [and] had a factory each in Hisar and Odisha; so splitting them into two listed companies was a good option [then]. JSL and JSHL received approvals from their shareholders and creditors on April 23, 2022 [to merge]. The companies expect the process to be completed within the current financial year.

How will the merger impact your operations?

The merger is from the perspective of having one standalone entity that is a global major in stainless steel. After the merger, we will be among the top 10 stainless steel producers in the world. And after our expansion, we aim to be in the top 5 in the world.

The merger will have a lot of benefits, including an improved balance sheet and stakeholder benefits. Our negotiating power will increase because rather than negotiating with our vendors and suppliers as two separate entities, we will now negotiate as one. It will also help in improving customer service. Our investors will benefit as well. Since we had two legal entities, we had to make a lot of double investments—warehousing, logistics, etc. Now, we’d be able to do away with that.

What will be your strategy to make Jindal Stainless one of the top 5 companies in the sector globally?

Our USP lies in new product development with a focus on catering to the demand for a high-end, niche stainless steel product portfolio, along with an agile product mix as per market trends. Backed by our in-house R&D, we are constantly developing innovative stainless steel solutions for various critical applications of national importance across sectors such as railway infrastructure, oil and gas, defence, aerospace, nuclear applications, etc. Some of the prestigious projects where we have contributed in the past include satellite launch vehicles for Project Gaganyaan, nuclear submarine missile systems, rocket motor booster applications for ISRO, missile programmes for DRDO, and also the world’s most ambitious nuclear energy project at the Institute of Technical Education and Research (ITER) in France.

After the merger and upon the completion of our brownfield expansion plans, we will be one of the largest stainless steel manufacturers in the world with a melt capacity of 2.9 million tonnes per annum. This will unlock seamless integration of high volumes and niche offerings, catering to the ever-growing demand from key economic segments. We will be better positioned to consolidate our modern state-of-the-art technology through an enhanced operational synergy. We will also have a simplified capital structure along with a stronger balance sheet, leverage ratios, and improved financial flexibility.


The interview took place before JSL’s results for the Q2FY23 quarter were declared. The government rolled back the export duty on November 18, 2022.

Published on: Dec 06, 2022, 11:34 AM IST
Posted by: Arnav Das Sharma, Dec 06, 2022, 11:24 AM IST