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MMTC turnover set to touch Rs 10,000 cr

G. Srinivasan


Mr S.D. Kapoor, Chairman and Managing Director, MMTC

NEW DELHI, Oct. 16

CASHING in on the current buoyant trend in the country's exports and on the back of its vast experience in bulk handling of materials, MMTC Ltd is "hopeful" of touching a turnover of Rs 10,000 crore by next year in its export and import business of bulk commodities.

Disclosing this to Business Line here in an interview, MMTC's Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Mr S.D. Kapoor, said that this target would be "well within our reach. With our Singapore operations, our turnover this year would be Rs 8,000 crore".

He said the Singapore subsidiary had been doing well and with Approved International Trader (AIT) status, "there is an obligation on us to keep increasing our business there and we hope to record 25 per cent increase in turnover this year over the previous year".

He said in the last fiscal year the total turnover was Rs 7,200 crore "and we hope to maintain this level this year as well" despite the "pressure" on margins because of intense competition with the opening up of the economy.

Last year's performance, he said, needed to be viewed against the backdrop of September 11 attack in the US and the subsequent slowdown in the global economy in general, and trade in particular.

Besides, "international prices for most of the commodities such as iron ore and metals including gold and silver remained depressed," he added.

However, Mr Kapoor said that the performance during the first half of the current fiscal - - April to September 2002 had been "good", with the growth primarily driven by increase in exports of agri items such as wheat and rice and some other items like minerals.

"We exported a million tonne of wheat and rice during April-September 2002 and we hope to cross two million tonnes comprising 1.5 million tonnes of wheat and a half a million tonne of rice before the end of this fiscal," he said, adding that import of fertilisers and raw materials for fertiliser manufacture would also pick up since import requirements of muriate of potash and rock phosphate had all been tied up.

He said pulses were being imported and edible oils too in view of the festival demands. He said MMTC would export sugar, as there was a distinct possibility for it now in this season.

He said the MMTC-sponsored Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) in Orissa had already shipped more than a lakh tonne of iron ore exports during the first half of the current fiscal.

"Our turnover of pig iron ore export" went up almost three times from a level of Rs 60 crore last year April - September to Rs 180 crore during the first half of the current fiscal, with markets from China, South Korea and Japan absorbing more iron ore from India to sustain higher steel production.

Mr Kapoor said that there was some improvement in the import of non-ferrous metals, thanks to the industrial activity picking up in the country now.

He felt that there was definitely "pressure on margin" with trading per se as an activity posing difficulties because of more open and more competitive pressures.

He said that the company would stay focussed largely on its core competence in select areas such as agri-products, bullion, iron ore, coke and hydrocarbon and fertilisers and raw materials and said "getting into hi-tech area is not our cup of tea as of now".

Asked about disinvestment, the MMTC chief said that "right now a decision within the Commerce Ministry is to see how the STC disinvestment experiment succeeds before taking up MMTC because both these large companies cannot be in the same trading arena and be put up for sale where buyers have limited funds and we will be cutting into each other and evaluation will be down to that extent".

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