The Sajjan Jindal steered JSW Group is venturing into cement production. The group has floated JSW Cement, a company, which is setting up a slag-based 4Mt clinker facility in Andhra Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs 1,200-1,300 crore. This will be in the first phase of the group’s entry into cement manufacturing, and is expected to go on-stream by 2009. The company will then look at hiking the capacity to 8Mt by 2012, in the second phase. The facility will be a split location plant with the clinker plant in Andhra Pradesh near the limestone deposits and the grinding units will be spread across two locations, one in Karnataka and the other in Andhra Pradesh.
Confirming the move, Sajjan Jindal, vice-chairman and managing director, JSW Steel, said, "We, as a group, will be focusing on bulk materials, as our core competence lies in these businesses, which include steel, aluminium, energy and cement." "We are yet to reach a financial closure for the cement project, but we are currently working on it. We will move very fast after that," said Jindal.
The group has been contemplating getting into cement production, largely to use the slag generated from its steel plant in Vijayanagar in Bellary district in Karnataka. Considering that cement demand in India is on the rise and currently outstrips supply, it is but natural for groups such as these (JSW) to get into cement production. "The Jindals have had plans to enter the cement business for a long time, but were waiting for an opportune moment," says a cement analyst based in Mumbai. "The robust steel cycle has lead to huge profits and the group is now channeling back the money into new, related vistas," he added.