Jindal Stainless chalks out road map to better revenue, build brand

With Jindal Stainless’ corporate debt restructuring (CDR) plan in the final lap, the country’s largest stainless steel producer is chalking out a road map to enhance its revenues while focusing on a fresh branding strategy.

“We are seeing strong demand for automotive, railways and building construction segments where a sizeable market is available for us to capture,” Abhyuday Jindal, managing director told Business Standard. “We are actively working with builders in Mumbai on several redevelopment projects where replacement demand is strong,” he said.

Of the total revenue of Jindal Stainless, the railways contributes around 10 per cent. Going ahead, the company sees a long-term demand for their products from the railways and is aiming to strengthen its ties with it.

“We want to be with the railways and be a part of their growth story. It is more of a commitment and we want to maintain it,” said Vijay Sharma, senior vice-president, head-sales and distribution (domestic and exports). 

Currently, the per capita consumption of stainless steel in India stands at 2 kg as against a global average of 6 kg. This indicates there is an ample scope for consumption growth of the commodity. While the company is banking on some trusted segments to derive strong revenue stream after the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), the kitchenware segment has started to look attractive, the management said.

“The GST has created a level playing field for Jindal Stainless in the kitchenware category and our market share has gone up to 30 per cent,” said Sharma.

In the December quarter, Jindal Stainless (Hisar) reported a top line of Rs 2,233 crore, down 8 per cent from the same period last year. Contrary to the expectations of a festive season, demand from major segments like automobiles and consumer goods slowed down during the quarter, the company said.

Jindal Stainless often has to deal with a double whammy of being part of the large unorganised stainless steel sector in the country and being mistaken to be steel despite independent characteristics and end-user industry. The firm aims to chalk out a brand strategy by creating an awareness campaign, work on which has commenced.

“Stainless steel is a more direct consumer-facing commodity compared to copper and aluminium. Work on the branding marketing front is going on and a logo is in the making, which is crucial given that we are part of a big unorganised sector,” Jindal said.

The company plans to kick-start branding from June and will continue focusing on deleveraging its balance sheet, which currently carries a debt of Rs 8,000 crore.

“We will expand the Odisha unit if only the debt to Ebitda (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) comes below 2.0 from the present 3.1. This should be achieved by FY20 as we look to lower debt burden by Rs 1,000 crore annually,” Jindal said.

The company is planning to increase its value-added products portfolio at its Hisar plant and is looking to take the capacity to 1.6 million tonnes from 0.8 million tonnes at the Odisha unit. 

Jindal Stainless is open for an organic brownfield and inorganic growth route and will also look at relevant insolvent assets once its balance sheet deleveraged. 

In 2015, Jindal went in for demerger in order to deleverage JSL Stainless. The entity was demerged into two listed — Jindal Stainless (Hisar) and Jindal Stainless — and two unlisted companies — Jindal United and Jindal Coke.


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