Supervisor of EVRAZ Сaspian Steel rolling mill, Vice President of EVRAZ, Ilya SHIROKOBROD:
WE ARE READY TO BROADEN THE RANGE OF OUR PRODUCTS
Kostanai-based Russian-Kazakh EVRAZ Caspian Steel, a rolling mill producing reinforcement bars, is operating stably and is even increasing its load, despite the difficult economic situation. This year, the rolling mill plans not only to keep last year's volume of production but also to increase it. If there is a strong demand, the company is ready to increase annual output. Vice President of EVRAZ and Supervisor of EVRAZ Caspian Steel Ilya SHIROKOBROD talked about the current operations and future plans of the company in an interview with Interfax-Kazakhstan.
- How did the company perform in 2015? Are you satisfied with the results?
- 2015 was a difficult year for the global and, of course, Kazakh metal industry, as the demand for metal products was weak and the prices were low. In addition, the Kazakh currency Tenge devaluated last year following the Ruble and Yuan devaluations. The Tenge devaluation and low oil prices led to a reduction of investment activity in the country and, of course, such situation negatively affected the construction market, which is the main consumer of our products. Taking into account the last year’s situation, our plant operated stably and even increased its load. The company fulfilled all its social obligations and contributed to the development of the Kazakh metal industry. Last year, we produced 280,000 tonnes of products and are quite satisfied with the results.
- What is the production target for 2016?
- We plan to keep last year’s volume of production, but it may change due to the market demand. As the construction season started and the market revived, EVRAZ Caspian Steel has increased its volume of production. Our rolling mill operated at over 85% of its design capacity in May and we expect it to reach its full capacity in June. If there is a strong demand, our plant is ready to increase annual output.
- Do you export your products? If you do, can you tell about last year’s results and forecasts for 2016?
- We mainly sell our produce in the domestic market but we export it as well. We export reinforcement bars to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In 2015, we exported one third of our produce: of which 60% went to Tajikistan and 40% to Kyrgyzstan. We do not plan to change our export destinations so far, but we are also ready to consider other destinations in Central Asia as well, if there is an interest.
- How did you start 2016? Were there any unexpected developments or difficulties or not?
- The beginning of the year is always a “dead season” for the construction industry, consequently we do not usually expect a great many orders. In January, we took our opportunity and shut down the plant for planned repairs and maintenance for several weeks. After the shutdown project was over, we have been gradually increasing the output to meet the growing demand.
- What are your plans for 2016? Are there any new projects?
- We have long-term relationships with our partners and traders, however we are always open to new opportunities. As far as our other plans are concerned, we are ready to broaden the range of products, if there is demand in the market. We are capable of producing 8 mm reinforcement bars and other rolled products for the construction industry.
- Is it difficult to do business in the current situation? Has the crisis somehow affected the company’s business activities?
- Today, all EVRAZ companies--including our company--are focused on reduction of the costs and optimization of all the processes. EVRAZ Caspian Steel has adopted an energy saving program to reduce energy costs. We have also optimized our stock management procedures. During a crisis, it is very important to meet the client’s expectations by supplying products of a highest quality. Quality control at the plant is performed by an international organization, so we are quite confident of the quality of all our products.
- Thank you for your time!
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