Indian steel mills hope to invest in upcoming Saudi Arabian steel, iron ore projects

Indian steel manufacturers plan to strengthen their relationship with the Middle East market, especially Saudi Arabia, according to remarks made during the second day of the First International Saudi Iron and Steel Conference last week, reports S&P Global Platts.

V.R. Sharma, managing director of India’s Jindal Steel and Power, said, “The industry will definitely grow and more investments will come from India to Saudi Arabia,” highlighting that the iron ore hubs identified in Saudi Arabia as potential opportunities. In addition, the company is hoping to seek partnerships for railway structures in the Middle East.

The Indian railway industry consumes 1.7 million mt of steel annually. Steel Authority of India Ltd. contributes 1 million mt towards the total consumption, while Jindal Steel and Power contributes 700,000 mt. Jindal Steel and Power, a unit of Jindal Group, has a total production capacity of 50 million mt of steel, out of which 2 million mt is produced at its Middle Eastern facility in Oman.

The company plans to increase its investment in the Middle East as the Indian government announced plans to increase its steel production capacity to 300 million mt by 2030. India was ranked second largest steel producer in 2018, after China in Asia. Different panels at the conference also noted that sentiment was positive in the Indian steel market following recent elections.

Bhaskar Chatterjee, secretary general and executive head of Indian Steel Association, also said that the association would like to play a vital role towards achieving Saudi vision 2030. “Where industrialization and organization goes, steel follows. We have seen that before as well,” Chatterjee said. “We believe that Saudi and Indian 2030 strategies will generate synergies for both countries,” he added.

Both India and Ukraine have home-based advantage, being rich in iron ore. If Saudi Arabia wants to grow and expand its steel industry, the government needs to utilize its home-grown advantage — natural gas, Peter Marcus, managing partner of World Steel Dynamics said during the conference.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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