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Jindal Steel's export jumps 109% despite coronavirus lockdown

Chitranjan Kumar     May 5, 2020

The Naveen Jindal-led Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) on Tuesday said it has reported its highest-ever exports of steel and related products during April despite being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company exported 2.48 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of steel and related products during April, registering a month-on-month growth of 109 per cent. Export contributed to 74 per cent of the company's total sales volume.

"The COVID-19 pandemic surfaced in India and sparked off a crisis of significant proportions. By the third week of March 2020, this began impacting economic activity with the announcement of nationwide mandatory and complete lockdown," the OP Jindal Group company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Despite challenging times, JSPL India reported 5 per cent year-on-year growth in the production of steel and granulated pig iron at 550,000 MT during April 2020. The group recorded 655,000 MT of consolidated steel production in April 2020, it said.

"All plant operations strictly adhered to the home ministry guidelines and shop floor operations resorted to staggered working to ensure proper physical distancing," JSPL said.

JSPL's blast furnace at Angul posted "the highest ever production" of 298,000 MT of hot metal during April 2020. Blast furnace maintained an average production of around 10,000 MT on a working day basis.

VR Sharma, Managing Director, JSPL attributed the achievement to its agile and decisive team. He said, "JSPL,has effectively and appropriately addressed the domestic demand situation and formulated Business Continuity Strategy and subsequently secured full export order book to ensure continuous operation of its plant".

"With the continuous support of Indian Railways and various ports in the eastern part of the country (viz Gangavaram, Vizag, Paradip, etc), JSPL continues with steel production to support the Indian economy by earning precious foreign currency," Sharma added.

JSPL reported standalone sales of 3.35 lakh MT, the balance production is under shipment and stocked at the port waiting for vessels, which will be accounted in the month of May. JSPL recorded consolidated sales of 4.56 lakh MT during April 2020.

JSPL's Oman Steel plant reported 1.06 lakh MT of steel production while steel sales stood at 1.2 lakh MT in April. "JSPL has also developed R 260 Grade of rails for Indian Railways, these rails have carriage capacities of 75 tonne per wagon, as compared to 64 tonne per wagon for ordinary rails. JSPL has also developed a sour grade application plate and round billets," the company said in the exchange filing.

Boosted by robust export sales, Jindal Steel & Power shares were trading 2.40 per cent higher at Rs 87.50 apiece on the BSE on Tuesday. The stock hit an intraday high and low of Rs 90 and Rs 85.55, respectively.

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