10 July 2020

Table of Contents for Post Excon 2017

Interaction- Randhir Venugopal, Director, Dillinger Middle East FZE

Next 4-5 years are going to be very exciting


A pioneer and among world’s oldest steelmakers, DILLINGER forges high-end premium steel products. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, RANDHIR VENUGOPAL, DIRECTOR, DILLINGER MIDDLE EAST FZE,  discusses his market outlook and underlines importance of India for his company.


Give us a brief overview of your operations.
We are one of Europe’s largest steel plate manufacturing companies.We began manufacturing steel in 1685, and specialized steel plates by 1960. The science of special steels is very precise, subject to many factors including chemical composition, rolling methods, to the various heat treatments used.  Today with over 330 years of experience, we make approximately 2.3 million toms of steel in over 2,000 different grades, extending from non-alloy structural steels, up to and including, ultra-high-strength quenched and tempered fine-grained steels and from weathering-to sour-gas-resistant grades. We also supply heavy plate in out-of-the-ordinary formats and dimensions, in extreme thicknesses, with ultra-high item weights, for extremely low and extremely high temperatures, for the toughest loads and conditions, and meeting most demanding specifications.
Our market focus is chiefly in the oil & gas sector. In this segment our steel plates are a great fit, because we can supply up to 5.2 meters wide steel plates used for large pipelines. Recently we have also seen good potential for our steel in the manufacture of construction equipment, especially in India. The segment here represents 10 to 15 per cent of our total production, which represents sizeable tonnage.



How do you see the market evolving?
Globally the steel market is going through a big transition. Overall steel production is going over capacity by 400 to 600 million tons. In our segment alone, we will have approximately 60 million tons overcapacity by 2020. Coupled with this, domestic steel producers are increasing both quantity and quality of steel, further pushing down margins. Many countries are trying to protect their domestic markets with special restrictions like anti-dumping duties and minimum price below which steel cannot be imported. Having said that, we are operating in a highly specialised niche segment. In certain parts we are doing only project based selling. While in certain other markets, we are trying to enter through retail selling of stock-in-ground and just-in-time delivery for construction equipment manufacturers like bucket manufacturer, excavators, boom cranes and so on. In India, requirement of specialized steel for heavy manufacturing like boilers, pressure vessel, offshore platforms and construction equipment, are presenting new market opportunities for us. The next 4-5 years are going to be very exciting. Back in the oil & gas segment, gas that is now coming up has extremely high suphur content, making it very sour or corrosive. This has further increased requirement for specialised steel, increasing our market opportunities. In fact last year for a Middle East project we supplied close to 250,000 tons specialized steel plate to a pipe manufacturer. However our home European market continues to be biggest contributor to our business. We sell more than 50 per cent of our plates in Europe.



Key differences between Indian and European markets.
In European market, alternate energy is coming up in a big way. It is estimated that the whole north sea area will very soon generate nearly 80 to 90 per cent of their energy from alternative energy, mainly offshore wind power plants or wind farms. These wind farms have huge foundations set up in the ocean floor, which must be capable of withstanding high stresses caused by hurricane-force squalls and enormous ocean current. Heavy plate steel from Dillinger in Saarland is used for these projects all over the world.



You are already at the top of your segment. Any plans for diversification?
No we don’t have any plan for diversification. But yes, innovation is something we are always invested in. It helps us to continuously improve our heavy plate steel and maintain our competitive edge. For example last 2-3 years, we invested over €1.3 billion upgrading our facilities. Last year alone we spent nearly €400 million and installed a specialised vertical concaster, which is one of its kind in the world. We focus on high-end markets, going forward we expect market will demand more specialized steel. For example, in India, the Mahatma Setu bridge is being constructed in Bihar with over 60000 tons of specialised corrosion resistant steel. Right now we are exploring these kinds of projects.



How has your experience been at EXCON?
With the construction equipment market gearing up, we are pretty excited to be here at EXCON this year. We were also present at Bauma, but the response here has been much more vivid.

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