“Domestic consumption of aluminium to double in 5 years,” highlights CEO

As consumption increases in the coming decade, we are committed to ensuring that we contribute to the ‘Make in India’ initiative while focusing on the country’s self-sufficiency vis-à-vis aluminium, says Ajay Kapur, CEO - Alu-minium & Power, Vedanta Limited

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By the Electrical India content team

Tell us about Vedanta’s Aluminium and Power business – what is the size of your power portfolio and tell us about the green-field power plant in Punjab…

As you know, Vedanta’s Aluminium & Power business is the largest producer of primary aluminium in India. Our smelting capacity of 2.2 million tonnes is backed by integrated power plants, as aluminium production is an energy-intensive operation. So, power is crucial to our operations. It is our second most important raw material after alumina. The size of our power portfolio, captive and independent combined is close to 8,000 MW and that puts us among India’s top 5 power producers. Given the criticality of power, we look at the business through a microlens and ensure that we adhere to global standards, we adopt cutting-edge technology to improve our operational efficiency and adapt to the changing times. We operate Punjab’s largest greenfield independent power plant – Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd. (TSPL) – with a capacity of 1,980 MW in Mansa which supplies 100 per cent of the power generated to the state of Punjab. Likewise, we have IPP units in Tamil Nadu and Odisha which supply power to the state grids. So, we have a good mix of IPPs and CPPs.

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Ajay Kapur, CEO – Aluminium & Power, Vedanta Limited

Going forward, our focus would be inward and wherever we have expenses in terms of KPIs and also study the future road map. We want to keep looking at opportunities because we also know that other assets are available from time to time. And we continue to look at it from our growth and also to look at the standalone business.

How big is the Aluminium & Power business in terms of volume?

The Aluminium & Power business is one of the largest and most diverse sectors in the Vedanta Group’s portfolio. The business has produced 1.95 million tonnes of primary aluminium in FY19, which was the highest-ever production from any single domestic producer till date. We operate two state-of-the-art aluminium smelters at Jharsuguda (Odisha) and one at BALCO in Korba (Chhattisgarh). The smelter in Jharsuguda is the world’s largest single-location aluminium smelters, outside China. Our world-class 2 MTPA alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district (Odisha) has made Vedanta a premier manufacturer of metallurgical grade alumina for the company’s aluminium smelters.

In terms of top-line, that’s almost $ 4 billion – a mammoth business, and if you talk about the Vedanta Group as a whole, we are $ 15 billion and growing. Vedanta Limited is the world’s 6th largest diversified natural resources conglomerate, proudly contributing 1 per cent to India’s GDP.

What is the percentage of growth that you foresee?

We have steadily grown at 6.5 to 7 per cent over the years. Aluminium is the fastest growing commercial metal today, owing to its criticality in diverse industry sectors. However, India’s per capita aluminium consumption of 2.6 kg is a stark contrast to the global average of 11 kg. I believe that as the Indian economy takes an upward turn, we shall see a rising trend in aluminium consumption with per-capita numbers going up from 2.5 kgs to 5 to 6 kgs, owing to an increase in investment in sectors like rural electrification, infrastructure, transportation, aviation etc. With consumption posed to increase in the next decade, we are committed to ensuring that we contribute to ‘Make in India’, with a focus on increasing the country’s self-sufficiency vis-à-vis aluminium. We are a global company with strong Indian roots. Today we have a production of nearly 2 million tonnes which also sees us cater to global markets. As we see domestic consumption growth, and we anticipate the domestic consumption of aluminium to double in just 5 years, we have plans to increase our production capacity and value-added offerings to serve the demands of the growing market.

Tell us more about your export market…

Vedanta’s products are very successful in evolved markets across the world. The company aligns itself to meet the growing needs of diverse applications across sectors and we cater to our customers’ unique requirements through focused R&D and carefully developed new value-added products with highest quality and sustainability standards. We have a strong presence in Europe, Asia and the US. We are also opening up to markets in the Middle East and South Africa. We are the largest producer of wire-rods globally, ex-China. The government has a lot of ability to introduce it to every village and a lot of new grids have been made. Also, we foresee new opportunities in new grids for renewable energy. Underground cabling is also an important area. Our wire rods also find usage in the automotive segment as wirings and harnesses.

Vedanta is the only company in India to produce flip coils for the steel industry. Our billets are in great demand in the quality-sensitive international markets, like the US, and form the biggest chunk of our export volumes. Primary Foundry Alloys are the latest addition to our strong portfolio of value-added products, which are extensively used in the automotive industry. Slabs and rolled products form the next segment of our value-added portfolio and find usage in packaging, consumer durables, machinery and equipment, automotive, industrial engineering and, building and construction. Besides these, we also have developed Aluminium Silicon T-Ingots which are used for coating purposes by the steel industry.

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