Rajiv Mangal, president and CEO of Tata Steel (Thailand), said the Thai unit was part of a global organisation, “and hence we get support in terms of best practices in research and development, technology, human resources and safety” from the parent group in India. “Internally, it’s a multi-location manufacturing operation and hence it gives us a sustainable and stable supply position within the country,” Mangal said. “Over the years we have developed Thailand products to be well above the domestic or international standards and have a strong product development team to back up any new product development.
“If you see Thailand a hub for the supplying of business to neighbouring countries, yes, Thailand enjoys a very good reputation in the region as made-in-Thailand is a status that identifies a premium product. We will definitely be looking forward to increasing our production from Thailand and to selling these product in the neighbouring geographies as a matter of high price, high premium, high-quality products going ahead.” He said that Tata Steel (Thailand) believes in looking for long-term profitable and sustainable growth, so the company's priorities include reaching its full capacity and making sure that the financial returns are better than the cost of capital. He added that the company should soon return to being a dividend-paying company for the benefit of its shareholders.
In terms of market share, Tata Steel (Thailand) is the leader in long products and the company expects to maintain its position, whether it be in rebars or wire rods, Mangal said. He said that in terms of growth for the Thai industry this year, the expectation is that there will be slight contraction or reduction in the steel market in 2017. “The number is somewhere between 5 and 6 per cent, and the overall steel consumption in Thailand for the calendar year 2017 is likely around 18 million tonnes,” Mangal said. "The key driver for this has been a slowdown in construction activity during the year. Overall automobile production has improved in the last quarter, so that will partly offset the drop which is expected in construction. But still, for the full year 2017, we expect the steel consumption in Thailand to drop as compared to 2016.” Tata Steel (Thailand) Plc yesterday reported its financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2018, ending in September. It recorded its best quarterly sales volume of wire rods and cut and bend products. Net sales during the second quarter of fiscal 2018 were Bt5.78 billion, up 26 per cent over the previous quarter and 25 per cent over the same period last year. “In terms of Tata Steel’s strategy for this market, we believe in a stable, sustainable position, and hence we have been improving our product mix,” Mangal said. “In terms of rebars, we have introduced seismic bars. We have increased the strength of steel from SD 30 to 40, 50 and now we are talking of SD 60. We are giving value-added product for cut and bend, which is useful for Thailand considering the shortage of labour in the industry that we have. “We have upgraded and improved the quality of our wire rods and, supported by the Ministry of Commerce against cheap dumping, we expect the wire rod business to go up. So, we will continue to look at better products and better service to our consumers and yet at the same time keep costs under control.”