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JSW Steel Ltdnatural gas applications. Downstream, we have a number of operations to add value and so we sell hot rolled coils, cold rolled coils, galvanised and colour coated steel and special grades for the automotive and white goods industries." Production this financial year at Vijayanagar will be about six million tonnes. Next year, Sasindran anticipates that figure will be substantially higher. "Despite the economic crisis, we have not had to cut down our production. Rather, we have looked inward and reduced our production costs to remain extremely competitive. At present, we export to about 400 esteemed customers in Sasindran is quite clear that selling steel as a commodity is not what this company is about. "We don't want to be known as a supplier of steel," he states. "We see our task as working very closely with our customers to understand their precise needs and the application they require the steel for. Then we will come up with a customised solution of the highest quality. Our customers like what we do and how we do it; they are very loyal and keep coming back to us. "We concentrate on high-end applications," he continues. "Slabs for ship building, for example, and coil for the automobile industry. We also do a lot of steel for oil and March 10 51

52 March 10more than 100 countries, with the steel we produce going to Europe and the US as well." The plant started its integrated operations in 1999, expanding to seven million tonnes in early 2009. It is now acclaimed as one of the most modern, eco-friendly steel plants in the world. Eventually the plant at Vijayanagar will be capable of producing 16 million tonnes a year."We wanted state-of-the-art facilities and so we turned to the world's leading suppliers of technology to the steel world when we were designing the Vijayanagar facility," explains Sasindran. "For example, Siemens VAI from Austria and the UK provided our Corex and blast furnace technology, while Man Turbo from Switzerland built us the largest 40 megawatt furnace blowers ever made. We also worked with Paul Worth for critical equipment, SMS Siemag for steel making and casting facilities, MHI Japan for the new hot strip mill and Morgan from the US for long product mills. Some of the best technologies we have relate to energy and water consumption, which makes this plant one of the most efficient in the world," he says. Sasindran explains that the group takes a profound interest in its impact on the environment-the ISO 14001 environmental management system is in place at each of the plants operated by JSW Steel. 'A steel plant in a forest' was the comment left in the visitors' book by one impressed guest; and the area around Vijayanagar is carefully maintained as closely as possible to its natural pristine state. The site is also regularly benchmarked against the best companies of its type in Korea and Japan.The site employs some 4,000 people and staff are helped with housing, health and the education of their children. Sasindran is particularly proud of the company's record for employing women. "Normally you would only find men and boys in a steel works. As an organisation, we are very concerned to promote the employment of women and we have a number of engineers who are women. We have also found that they make excellent crane operators." Women are also being trained and placed in other jobs where they are not normally found, such as power-tiller and pump operation, mechanical and electrical maintenance and driving. Whenever possible, all employees are encouraged to develop their technical competence and follow a career path. In collaboration with the government of Karnataka, JSW has taken the lead in forming the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Steel Technology, an institute that will offer high level training to meet the special needs of the steel industry. The company has also entered into a partnership with India's leading engineering institute, BITS Pilani, which specialises in process engineering. The JSW Group dedicates approximately 1.5 per cent of profit after tax to a range of social development projects. The group is guided by the belief that the business is dependent on society for its growth and prosperity. Islands of prosperity cannot survive for long in a vast sea of poverty and unfulfilled basic needs, so corporate social