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Tuesday, Jul 27, 2004

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Jindal Stainless bets big on steel furniture

Ambarish Mukherjee
Preeti Mehra

New Delhi , July 27

JINDAL Stainless Ltd has been in the forefront of introducing the non-corrosive, long-lasting, maintenance-free metal for street furniture including bus stops, benches, tree guards, divider grills, lighting and trash bins.

And now, its efforts seem to have borne fruit with the company bagging orders to refurbish two prime streets of Mumbai.

Though pilot projects of half a kilometre stretch each, they have followed after Walkeshwar Road and its sea front was redone with stainless steel a few months back.

"The response was so good that we have been given Madam Cama Road and Veer Nariman Road to display our acumen in stainless steel furniture,'' said Mr Jasbir Bindra, COO of the company's architectural division.

He added that the same product was being looked at for the Railways, airports and upcoming malls.

The cost of the first project is around Rs 25 lakh, while that of the second is a little over Rs 1 crore, and both are be completed by November.

Though initial costs may be high, the metal's maintenance-free quality for a decade would balance out the cost factor, said Mr Bindra.

He added that the initial resistance among the planners about using stainless steel was fading and that the `build own operate' model for the road sector would result in increased demand for stainless steel furniture.

The company is promoting its stainless steel furniture under the `Arc' brand name and has a dedicated 15-member team of professionals working on it.

Though the stainless steel furniture market is still small in India, the company sees big market potential in the long run and is also undertaking a pilot project in central Delhi. Right now it is projecting a sale of Rs 5-7 crore over the next one year.

Overall, the stainless steel industry has shown a healthy growth during the April-June quarter. Global production during the first quarter was around six million tonnes, 5.3 per cent higher than the same quarter last fiscal.

In case of Asia, the four steel producing countries - South Korea, Taiwan, China and India - together registered a 25 per cent growth in production during the first quarter.

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Jindal Stainless bets big on steel furniture

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