Arcelor-Nippon to boost erstwhile Essar Steel Paradip plant capacity

AM/NS India, a joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Japan’s Nippon Steel, plans to enhance capacity at the erstwhile Essar Steel pellet plant at Paradip, Odisha to 6 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), with room to expand it by 3-6 mtpa.

Expanding capacity has topped the agenda of the management since the takeover of the plant in December from Essar Steel following bankruptcy proceedings.

In a presentation to investors on Thursday, ArcelorMittal, the majority partner in the joint venture, said the company plans to expand its total pellet-making capacity to 20 mtpa, including an 8-mtpa Vishakapatnam plant, by 2021-22.

Following the capacity expansion, about 30% of the pellets produced can be exported, since captive consumption would only require about 70% of installed capacity.

In December, after taking control of the steel plant, the new management had said it would ramp up steel-making capacity at the plant to 12-15 mtpa from the current 9.6 mtpa.

ArcelorMittal also said India is a low-cost market for steel-making, compared with ASEAN and China, and anti-dumping duties imposed by the government would protect the domestic industry from unfair trade.

ArcelorMittal’s total equity contribution to the AM/NS venture stands at $1.6 billion.

ArcelorMittal reported a net loss of $2.5 billion for the October-December quarter, and ending the year with net debt of $9.3 billion.

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