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Salem, April 26

THE public sector Salem Steel Plant (SSP) plans to raise its production by 40 per cent to 2.11 lakh tonnes for 2005-06 fiscal from the 1.50 lakh tonnes during 2004-05.

The plant is also eyeing the special finishes fabrication and kitchenware segments in the domestic market, which, together with SSP's brand equity, had last year given greater momentum to its product sale.

The plant had closed the 2004-05 fiscal with a turnover of about Rs 1,000 crore, a rise of 79 per cent from the previous year's Rs 557 crore. The increased sale had enabled SSP make a net profit of Rs 2.70 crore up to December 2004 and the unit's full fiscal 2004-05 would keep this profit ratio as the fourth quarter financials are still under computation, according to Mr M. Roy, Executive Director of SSP.

Talking to presspersons, Mr Roy said the plant could sustain the profitability, despite certain setbacks such as drastic reduction in hire rolling capacity, idling coin blanking unit and low volume exports in initial months due to suspension of DEPB benefits. The increased turnover and profitability were made possible by a marketing drive to raise domestic sales, higher value addition to its product range such as more thinner products for exports and greater control over costs.

The plant's total steel products sale last fiscal was 1.48 lakh tonnes, which included 48,000 tonnes of carbon steel. This was higher by 80 per cent over the previous year's sale of 82,200 tonnes. Its exports and domestic sales, too, were higher at 67,000 tonnes and 27,000 tonnes, respectively. For 2005-06, the plant has targeted exports of 91,000 tonnes and achieving a domestic sale of 30,000 tonnes.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 27, 2005)
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