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India’s largest steelmaker reduces production when the Covid crisis hits demand

India’s largest steelmaker expects a break from the country’s cruelty the second wave the coronavirus will last until September, as it reduces production because it is reducing oxygen shortages and industrial demand.

JSW is also struggling to integrate its workers, contract workers and their families, and a total of about a million people are trying to overcome the country’s lack of coups.

The company, India’s largest steel producer with a market capitalization of 1.8 million euros ($ 24.4 million), has reduced steel by almost 10%, JSW chief executive Sajjan Jindal told the Financial Times.

Breaking the oxygen shortage of Covid-19 patients has forced industrial groups to divert gas from factories to hospitals.

JSW’s production cuts highlight how India’s second wave is repealing what could have been the rise of Indian industry.

The economic and consumer demand was expected to decline after the contraction caused by the coronavirus last year, while steelmakers had a strong view of the global market.

Sajjan Jindal, President of JSW, India’s largest steelmaker © Bloomberg

Corporate India needs to juggle staff shortages of oxygen and vaccines, low demand and infection. Other companies, including the largest automaker Maruti Suzuki, are cutting production and closing factories temporarily.

“I never imagined there could be a second wave that could be so violent and destructive,” said Jindal, one of India’s strongest tycoons. “It simply came to our notice then [on domestic demand] coming to our company. . . I see some fractures until September. “

India reported more than 400,000 Covid-19 infections and 4,000 deaths on Saturday, although experts believe the actual toll is much higher.

Investors hold on to JSW, whose share price has risen 90 percent since it began this year, thanks to a strong global steel market.

Jindal said JSW could offset weaker domestic demand through exports, which accounted for about one-fifth of revenue. “The global steel cycle has turned north and JSW is in a good position,” said Saurabh Mukherjea, founder of Marcellus Investment Managers.

But it remains a complicated picture at home due to a poor view of the business and the burden of the disease on companies and employees.

JSW is currently the largest supplier of liquid medical oxygen in the country, according to Jindal, which transports about 1,200 tonnes per day. He said he hoped this would continue for “a couple of months”.

The company also faced challenges in caring for its employees and relatives.

This month’s policy change has allowed companies to try to vaccinate their employees through links to private hospitals, but JSW – like many others – has been unable to get owners because it is serious. shortage of vaccines this is expected to continue at least until July.

He said about 20-30 employees tested positive for Covid-19 every day at the company’s main plant in Ballari in southern India.

“We failed to get vaccinated as a country,” Jindal said. “We had the ability. Somehow, I don’t know, we didn’t care so much. ‘

Authorities said the country could be better prepared for the second wave, although no one had predicted how serious it would be.

“We got involved in the planning of this wave,” he said. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have elections, we wouldn’t have Kumbh,” a reference to local polls and a horrific religious gathering as cases piled up.

“We would be much more careful. We lost a lot of lives and we continue to lose a lot of lives. ”

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