'JSPL will be relatively debt-free in 4-5 years'
Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, which has a consolidated debt of around Rs 46,000 crore, has said it is likely to be a 'relatively' debt-free company within five years.
"We are increasing our production, there is good demand for steel and the government has also taken a lot of initiatives to build infrastructure in the country," JSPL Chairman Naveen Jindal told reporters on the sidelines of India's National Competitiveness Forum conclave.
"In the next four to five years, we hope to be a relatively debt-free company. The debt should not be more than three times, I believe, of the EBITA," he elaborated.
JSPL's consolidated EBITDA was at Rs 1,552 crore in the fourth quarter of financial year 2016-17.
Things are much better now for JSPL, Jindal said, adding, "We are able to service the debt and I hope that if steel demand continues, we will be able to overcome it.
Our debt hasd only come down now. Whatever was our debt in FY16, we have reduced it in FY17".
Jindal observed that the company's debt increased basically after the cancellation of coal blocks and it had to pay Rs 3,500 crore additional levies.
"We had to borrow to pay our levies; that is why JSPL's debt is high. Then we have been servicing the debt that we took; so it cost us more than Rs 5,000 crore," he added.
The debt is not because of some project but due the company's costs which went up on account of cancellation of the coal blocks, he said.
Stating that the company posted very good results in the last quarter of 2016-17, Jindal said that the company would soon make functional its blast furnace at Angul, Odisha, which would help in doubling production.
"From the level of 3.5 million tonnes last year, we will be crossing 6 million tonnes. That will have a huge benefit for the company," Jindal concluded.