India's Steel Production Set To Triple By 2015

Capacity will expand to produce 80 million tons

India said April 18 it has raised its forecast for steel production, which it expects will expand threefold by 2015 as companies raise output to take advantage of surging domestic and overseas demand. "The government had estimated a production capacity of 65 million tons by 2010-2011 but now these estimates have been revised to 80 million tons," Steel Secretary R. S. Pandey said.

"Given a conducive mineral policy framework, this country should be producing 120 million tons by 2015-2016 and 180 million tons by 2019-2020," Pandey told the Press Trust of India.

India is currently the world's seventh-largest producer with a capacity of 44 million tons while China is at the top with a capacity of 418 million tons.

Indian steel producers are adding capacity to feed demand led by auto makers and construction companies in an economy expanding at an annual pace of 9%.

South Korean steel-making giant POSCO has signed an agreement to set up a $12 billion plant in the eastern Indian state of Orissa which will produce 12 million tons by 2020. Arcelor Mittal, in December signed an agreement with Orissa to build an $8.7 billion production plant in the ore-rich state.

Indian companies are also expanding overseas to increase their size and reach. India's Essar group on April 16 said it had signed an agreement to buy Canadian steelmaker Algoma for $1.58 billion and earlier this year Tata Steel acquired Anglo-Dutch firm Corus for $ 13.7 billion.

"Tables have turned and Indian companies are on buying spree abroad and they are acquiring companies of much bigger size than theirs," said Pandey. "We are growing much faster at about 1.5 times what we had anticipated," he said but rejected fears of a glut in the domestic market.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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