Post restart of operations after the COVID-19-related shutdown, all upstream aluminium plants of Hindalco Industries are operating at almost full capacity, said Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman.The aluminium downstream plants were operating at partial capacity and copper facilities were ramping up to optimal levels, Mr. Birla said at the company’s AGM. He said Hindalco would continue to strengthen its balance sheet with growth strategies and by generating positive free cash flows. “The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on economic activity… and employment,” he said. “Given the fog of uncertainty all around, it is hard to be prescient in these times with respect to the extent of the economic contraction, and pace of recovery,” he added. “Despite this slump in Q1, activity levels are gradually normalising. I remain confident that India’s long-term growth potential remains intact despite the COVID-19 setback,” he said. He said export demand remained stable and continued to offset subdued domestic market conditions. “The copper facilities are also ramping up to their optimal levels. At Novelis, all plants are operational, and many are now running at their full capacity. All the automotive customers in North America and China are now pulling at nearly pre-COVID-19 levels,” he added. Mr. Birla said the company’s broad strategy to reduce its exposure to London Metal Exchange (LME) price fluctuations and increasing the share of downstream, value-added products across businesses was playing out well.He said the company would continue to strengthen the balance sheet through growth strategies and generating positive free cash flows. Stating that low-cost imports continue to hurt the domestic aluminium and copper industry, he said in response, the company was maintaining a relentless focus on better efficiencies and cost competitiveness. Meanwhile, the board recommended 100% dividend.
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