May 23, 2017 / 8:46 AM / 6 months ago

Jindal Steel to swing to profit by 2018/19

(Reuters) - Jindal Steel and Power plans to increase its total steel capacity by as much as 50 percent this fiscal year and turn profitable by 2018/19, its chief executive said, after the company showed its losses narrowing in the fourth quarter.

A worker cuts a metal pipe inside a steel furniture production factory in Ahmedabad February 2, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

The company is commissioning 4 million tonnes of additional steel capacity from its plant in Angul, in the eastern state of Odisha, CEO Ravi Uppal told Reuters by telephone. adding that total capacity should reach 7.5-8.0 million tonnes.

“We have got to capitalise on that. It should get reflected in the second and third quarter onward. We should be able to have a net positive result in the next fiscal year,” Uppal said.

The company has been in the red for at least five quarters.

Uppal also said the company resumed work at its coking coal mine in Australia after cyclone Debbie halted operations, which had forced Jindal Steel to declare force majeure last month.

“All the systems are reinstated including transportation. We are back to business as usual. There is no carry-over effect from that cyclone.”

Losses for the quarter ended March 31 narrowed to 1 billion rupees ($15.46 million), from a loss of 6.36 billion rupees a year earlier, the company said, helped by higher revenue primarily from its iron and steel business. (bit.ly/2qRiJkc)

Analysts on average had expected the company to post a loss of 4.39 billion rupees in the March quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Consolidated revenue from its iron and steel business rose 15 percent to 52.61 billion rupees.

($1 = 64.6800 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Samantha Kareen Nair in Bengaluru, Neha Dasgupta and Krishna Das in New Delhi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Louise Heavens

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