Steelmaker plans to expand manufacturing capacity at its Karnataka unit to 16 million tonnes
Steelmaker JSW Steel plans to expand its manufacturing capacity at its Bellary plant in Karnataka from 10 million tonnes (MT) to 16MT with an investment of $5 billion-$6-billion, a top company official has said, reports PTI.
"We have decided to expand steel manufacturing capacity at our Bellary plant from 10MT to 16MT at an investment of $5 billion-$6-billion (around Rs20,000 crore-Rs25,000 crore) in the next three-years," JSW Steel's vice-chairman and managing director Sajjan Jindal told reporters on the sidelines of an event.
“We are also looking at investing in infrastructure to develop roads, railways and power plants at our Bellary unit,” Mr Jindal said, adding that the company is presently working on the details of these investments.
“We have already invested close to Rs40,000 crore in the Bellary plant and will continue to invest in Karnataka due to the proactive policy of the Karnataka government," he said. “Our investment in Karnataka is the largest compared to other units.”
"The upcoming ports and extensive railway networks will help industries to grow in the State. The new mineral policy by the Karnataka government is also a positive initiative," Mr Jindal said.
Steel prices could go up, he said, as raw material prices have risen substantially. "There is a huge cost-push because raw material prices have gone up substantially," he said.
ArcelorMittal’s CEO forecasts a drastic increase in prices for benchmark hot-rolled coil
Lakshmi Mittal, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker, has stoked a row over how global prices are set by telling consumers that raw material costs may push steel rates up by 21%.
"The cost of producing steel is going to go up and will be passed on to customers," Mr Mittal said in an interview, reports PTI.
Benchmark European hot-rolled coil prices will rise by $150 a metric tonne in the second quarter, he said. Steelmakers are passing on costs after Vale SA, the largest iron-ore producer, scrapped a four-decade system of annual price-setting and boosted prices for Japanese steelmakers as much as 90%.
Carmakers, the biggest users of steel, are crying foul.
The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, which represents companies, including Volkswagen AG, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Fiat SpA, said that members want EU regulators to “tackle distortive developments” caused by the changes from mining companies.
“The necessity to increase prices is generating the ire of customers and a bitter battle is raging,” said Christian Georges, an analyst at Olivetree Securities who has tracked industry and resources for 15 years.
Mr Mittal's forecast for benchmark hot-rolled coil would mark a 21% jump from levels now of about $700 a tonne, based on Metal Bulletin data. The coiled steel is used by firms from Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s biggest carmaker, to Royal Philips Electronics NV, the largest lighting company.
Eurofer, a group representing steelmakers in Europe, accused the biggest iron ore suppliers of “illicit coordination of prices” and said it had notified the regulatory arm of the European Commission about possible anti-competitive practices. It said that a shift to shorter contracts for iron ore at higher rates may boost costs for their customers by as much as a third.
“Steel producers will have to pass these rises on to the consumers,” Eurofer director-general Gordon Moffat said in a phone interview. “It's going to create a great deal more volatility in prices.”
At last, a public service campaign has come along that seems to be working
Public service advertising in India is essentially a big sham. It’s almost always executed with one mission in mind: to grab yet another (worthless) advertising award. Until only a few years ago, fake, non-existent ‘clients’ used to be invented for a public service ad.
Jamadaars, cobblers, cooks, dhobis… they all became fair game! It’s only in the recent times that juries have taken a tough stand on fake ads. Still, if you glance through the December issues of low-cost dailies such as ‘The Free Press Journal’ and ‘The Afternoon Dispatch & Courier’, you’ll find they resemble guard books for the nation’s finest pieces of advertising. Needless to add, all scam ads get created at the last minute to add to the awards’ tally.
However, now and then comes along a public service ad that appears serious in its endeavour, and holds a degree of promise. Breakthrough Trust, an international human rights organisation, has released one such campaign in India. Themed ‘Bell Bajao’, the ads attempt to solve the problem of domestic violence. There are three commercials on air. In each one, when a neighbour hears conversations and sounds that indicate domestic violence, he/she rings the cad’s doorbell as an excuse to intervene. But instead of taking the offender to task (clearly not a good idea… can be hazardous to the bell-ringer’s health!); the neighbour makes an excuse to strike a conversation. In one commercial, an old man hands over a blank postcard. In another one, the fellow wants to know what the time is. In the third commercial, the neighbour enquires if the electricity is working in the offender’s house.
Quite obviously, these feeble attempts cannot stop the menace of domestic violence. This is like using Band Aid to heal a brain tumour. But what ‘Bell Bajao’ does is two things: One, to make the offender aware that the neighbour knows about his misdeeds, so he better be careful. This can often work. Many people fear being ostracised by neighbours. And two, the intervention can provide some breathing space to the victim, even save her life, although temporarily. The unsaid thing, of course, is that if the violence does not end, one always has the option to call the cops.
It’s a good idea. Any public menace that can be dealt with by civilians must always be encouraged. However, for now, three commercials are done. The true test of the campaign will come in the future. If they don’t go all the way, and use a sustained 360-degree carpet-bombing exercise in the media, then the entire venture becomes pointless. This idea must become a movement for it to hope to achieve some success.
And only when that happens, can we safely assume that this isn’t just another campaign created with Cannes or Goafest in mind.