Tata Steel will have to expedite its expansion projects to have a larger part of the pie in India and to source raw material for its European operations, according to Tata Steel Chairman Ratan Tata.

Addressing shareholders at the company’s 105th annual meeting , his last as Chairman, Ratan Tata said, the company had a difficult first quarter with the net profit down 88 per cent. “But we have to bear in mind the stake sale last year.”

“After our two expansions of 2.9 million tonnes at Jamshedpur and 6 million tonnes at Odisha, our annual crude steel capacity will reach 33 million tonnes which will take us to the top 10 global steel companies and also the most cost-effective. But we have to take hard decisions and do some restructuring. Underlying all this would be a major move by Tata Steel to reduce costs and be more cost-efficient.”

“If we look ahead in a depressing scenario, we have to make some assumptions. There is no new material to replace steel and so the steel industry will continue to be there. It continues to be primary material for infrastructure and has connectivity of economic growth or downturn. “I hope Asia will regain momentum and China and India will continue to grow and I hope that India’s economic growth will be re-established.’’

Further, Mr. Tata said, the situation in Europe was a cause for concern. “There is additional pressure on companies to meet environmental concerns and that increases costs in a world that is fiercely competitive.”

The steel industry has gone through various cycles and had been called “sunrise industry and sunset industry but Tata Steel has the inherent strength and fortitude to see through this difficult period,” he said. Mr. Tata will retire as Chairman of the Tata Group later this year, and Cyrus Mistry will succeed him.

Karl Slym is new MDof Tata Motors

Meanwhile, Tata Motors has announced the appointment of a new managing director after a gap of almost two months. Karl Slym succeeds P. M. Telang, who superannuated in June this year. Mr. Slym will lead all operations of Tata Motors in India and international markets, says a release.

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