A chief company official stated how SAIL has started branching out to other players around the world seeing how the talks of auto-grade JV firm formation with ArcelorMittal are getting delayed. Chairman of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), Anil Kumar Chaudhary, stated how the company is already in conversations with a couple of auto-grade steelmaking international companies.
In May 2015, SAIL and the Luxembourg-based company, ArcelorMittal, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purpose of studying the likelihood of establishing an auto-grade steel making industry as part of a joint scheme in India. Now in December 2017, the board of SAIL permitted the proposal for a collective venture with ArcelorMittal for the purpose of developing high-end automotive steel.
When asked about the delay in decision making, the chairman stated how the postponement in talks with ArcelorMittal do not indicate the end of the project. He stated how there were numerous other countries involved in the auto-grade steel making industry and how they were already reaching out to Korean companies including Hyundai Steel and POSCO. Some Japanese firms are also under consideration such as Kobe Steel, Nippon Steel, etc.
He further clarified that the JV project was not being cancelled. He is of the opinion that ArcelorMittal may be occupied with their Essar Steel Acquisition, explaining the delay in talks. He also added that SAIL is in no way contributing to the delay in decision making.
According to Chaudhary, ArcelorMittal has failed to respond to a letter sent by SAIL in February which asked ArcelorMittal accelerate the procedure of authorizing a conclusive agreement for the establishment of a mutual venture for high-end automotive steel factory. According to an earlier report by PTI, South Korean and Japanese steel companies have displayed interest in investing in India for production of value-added products. SAIL and RINL plants had also been paid a visit by the firms.