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Friday, Jan 02, 2004

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SAIL breaks sales, production records

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Jan 1

STEEL Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has broken past almost all its earlier production and sales records during the first three quarters of the current fiscal year-ended December 2003.

During these nine months, the company has recorded highest ever production of 9.79 million tonnes of hot metal registering a 9 per cent growth over corresponding period last year, crude steel production at 9.07 mt was up by 9 per cent, and saleable steel production increased by 8 per cent to 8.17 mt, according to a company release.

The company has also achieved the highest production of energy-efficient concast steel at 5.34 mt recording a growth of 13 per cent in the review period along with highest ever blast furnace productivity and lowest ever energy consumption.

The major units of SAIL are at present operating at more than 103 per cent capacity utilisation level on an average.

The company, which earlier announced a record profit of Rs 760 crore in the first half of the current fiscal, reduced its borrowings by over Rs 3,000 crore during the review period.

Also, by way of swapping of high interest loans with the lower ones, the company managed to reduce the interest charges by about Rs 300 crore over the same period last year. With this, the overall debt, which stood at Rs 15,082 crore in 1999-2000, was brought down to less than Rs 10,000 crore as on date. The debt-equity ratio of the company has now come down below 3 by the end of the third quarter of the current fiscal.

Summarising the performance, Chairman of SAIL, Mr V.S. Jain, said: "the company has been able to keep its commitment by bringing all round improvement in its physical and financial performance. Now, the focus will be on future growth so as to make the best of the emerging opportunities and improve the company's market share in an expanding steel market."

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