‘Sterlite closure taking a toll on downstream units’

Production of refined copper has slumped by 47.1% during the first quarter of FY19. This is primarily attributed to the shutdown of the 400 KT (kilo tonne) Thoothukudi smelter of Sterlite Copper, which accounted for 40% of the country’s copper smelting capacity. Domino effect The decline in domestic production has led to a domino effect on the trade front. There has been a sharp increase in import and a fall in export of refined copper. Exports have shrunk by 91.6%, while imports have increased by 221.6% in the first quarter of FY19, an analysis by CARE Ratings shows. This is in stark contrast to the first quarter of the previous financial year, where exports increased by 70.1%, while imports fell by 69.9%. India used to be the net exporter of refined copper. During the quarter, the output of two other companies — Hindustan Copper and Hindalco — also saw constraints due to the shutdown of their smelters for maintenance. Coimbatore Pioneer Fertilizers Ltd., a manufacturer of single super phosphate fertilisers, is also feeling the pinch of Sterlite’s closure and is working at a very low capacity using alternative source (spent acid) for its sulphuric acid requirement, which was hitherto met by Sterlite. “We are now operating at low capacity [just under 25%],” a top company source said. Amrita Chemicals, a manufacturer and exporter of sodium silico fluoride, is facing a huge penalty for it inability to meet its contractual export obligation in the wake of the Sterlite imbroglio.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-business/sterlite-closure-taking-a-toll-on-downstream-units/article24814522.ece

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