'2019 had been a difficult year for the steel sector'

'2019 had been a difficult year for the steel sector'

Commenting on the prevailing economic slowdown, he said that April to October had been the worst period for the steel sector, which has started looking up from November.

Tata Steel CEO TV Narendran (tatasteel.com)

The chief executive officer and managing director of Tata Steel, T V Narendran has suggested to the government to focus on "cost of business" to make industries, particularly the manufacturing sector, more competitive.

"As the government has focused on ease of doing business, it should also focus on 'cost of business' to make industries, particularly the manufacturing sector, more competitive in the prevailing market," Narendran told reporters on Wednesday.

"We have been controlling the cost of business inside the work but outside the plant, it is not in our hands but the Central and state governments," the Tata Steel CEO said.

He said that such an initiative would certainly improve competitiveness of the domestic industries, particularly the manufacturing units.

Referring to the prevailing scenario in the steel sector, Narendran said that 2019 had been a difficult year for the steel sector and "the Tata Steel is not an exception as we have our own set of challenges to deal with".

However, Narendran said, "We have seen some signs of improvement in the last few months of 2019, which reflected with improved demand of steel shot up a bit and steel prices going up again."

He said that the steel prices almost shot up to Rs 10,000 per tonne during the last six to eight months.

As far as development of the steel city of Tatanagar is concerned, he said that the Tata Steel has not slowed down investment despite difficult times of the company, demonstrating the company's commitment.

Narendran urged the city to make sacrifices to make the company sustainable, profitable and competitive.

He expressed confidence that the company will improve its performance in the last quarter (January-March) of the current fiscal as 'demand of steel is okay'.

The January to June months would be favourable for the steel sector in view of the activities in construction and infrastructure sectors, he said.

"We are expecting to perform well in the last quarter of the current fiscal," he said, adding the government has also taken various decision such as cut in corporate taxes and the recent announcement of investment in infrastructure sector.

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