Sucheta Dalal :SAIL JSPL and Tata Steel to benefit most from rise in iron ore prices
Sucheta Dalal

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SAIL, JSPL and Tata Steel to benefit most from rise in iron ore prices  

April 26, 2010

 With iron ore prices skyrocketing, steel companies like Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Jindal Steel and Power ltd (JSPL) and Tata Steel are likely to make the most of the situation.


All three companies have access to assured iron ore supplies from their own private mines. Unlike others, these companies are not dependent on external iron ore purchases.


Last week, we had reported on how iron prices in the spot market had increased due to low supply from Indian mines. Softening of iron ore prices looks unlikely as supply bottlenecks continue to haunt Indian mining activities. Iron ore prices have touched a high of $192 per tonne, moving closer to the all-time high of $200 per tonne reached in 2008. Industry sources expect a further increase of 10% to 20%.


Amid such a scenario, SAIL, JSPL and Tata Steel are expected to emerge as the biggest winners. According to a PTI report published last week, steel companies like Tata Steel, SAIL and JSW Steel have increased the prices of their products by about Rs6,000 a tonne since February 2010. This increase for Tata Steel and SAIL will go straight to their respective bottom-lines.


Among the smaller steel companies, Prakash Industries and Ispat industries are expected to benefit. Both these companies don’t have access to their own iron ore mines, but have reportedly enough raw material supply through long-term contracts. However, there are concerns on whether Prakash Industries will be able to use its long-term deals to its advantage.


SAIL, JSPL and Tata Steel will be able to jack up their selling prices, and will enjoy greater margins, thanks to lower input costs.


Last week, steel secretary Atul Chaturvedi had indicated that further fluctuation in steel prices was likely. “Steel prices could rise or fall by Rs2,000-Rs2,500 a tonne mainly due to fluctuation in prices of raw material in the next six months,” Mr Chaturvedi was quoted as saying. On an average, any change in iron ore prices could lead to a doubling of steel prices.

Amritha Pillay

-- Sucheta Dalal