12th Rare Earth Summit

May 27-28, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

11th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 20-21, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

9th Magnesium Summit

April 15-16, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

13th World InBiGeGa Forum

March 25-26, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

7th World Antimony Forum

June 13-14, 2019
Changsha, Hunan, China

7th Refractory & Abrasive Materials Summit 2019

May 23-24, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

10th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 16-17, 2019
Zhengzhou, Henan, China

11th Rare Earth Summit

May 9-10, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

8th Magnesium Summit

April 11-12, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

12th World InBiGeGa Forum

March 14-15, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

6th World Manganese & Selenium Forum

May 21-22, 2018
Hainan Sanya, China
Manoj Kasera: Manganese alloys industry unity will ensure fundamental strength
----Interview with Manoj Kasera, Director of Orion Ferro Alloys Ltd.
Orion Ferro Alloys Private Limited was registered in 1995. It is located at Jindal Industialpark 'vill- Punjipat, Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, India and is an exporter, manufacturer & supplier of silico-manganese, from Raigarh, Chhattisgarh. It is operating with 4 MVA / 8000 MTA and annually produces about 3,000t of two silicomanganese grades for export either direct or through merchant exporter.

Asian Metal: First, thanks for your time for granting this interview, and would you please introduce your company briefly and the product grade you currently produce?

Manoj Kasera: Our company name is Orion Ferro Alloys Pvt Ltd with 4 MVA Submerged arc furnace and producing silicomanganese 60/14 and silicomanganese 60/15 grades in the state of Chattisgarh India.

Asian Metal: There was a controversy on low prices of manganese alloys – silicomanganese and ferromanganese –, manganese ore import duty of 2.5%, and export incentives being reduced from 4% to 2%. How have these benefitted producers now that the export incentive has been reduced by half?

Manoj Kasera: It has hurt the producers but incentives are always added in final realisation, hence upon reduction of incentives exports offers from India have shown an increase in prices.

Asian Metal: At what level of capacity do converters need to operate to break-even given the challenges relating to weak demand in the alloy steel and threat of anti-dumping investigation by the EU on Indian-origin ferroalloys, particularly on Indian manganese alloys products?

Manoj Kasera: Given the lower or even no margins at which producers are operating, all producers will try to achieve 100% capacity utilization so as to reduce variable costs like finance and administrative costs.

Asian Metal: And looking at the current numerous challenges facing ferroalloys industry in India where we see more silicomanganese producers converting their units into producing ferrosilicon. Is this the best way out to survive harsh reality of weak domestic and export market demand?

Manoj Kasera: I don't think so because market forces of demand and supply will always bring the prices down once the supply is increased without any increase in demand.

Asian Metal: And how does about 15% increase in power tariff in Raipur affect manganese alloys producers in the short-run and longer-term?

Manoj Kasera: The reality is 80% of Raipur producers have their own captive power plant and do not depend upon state-based electricity distribution company, hence 80% of these producers will not fell any impact and coal as a fuel will see fall in prices because of capacity augmentation by Coal India limited which will further benefit these producers. Further, DVC has kept unchanged tariff for next 2 years hence I don't see any change in prices in long-run. The short term increase in prices is more due to current demand and supply situation because of lack of manganese ore stock compelling producers to reduce their production. However 0.3 Million tons of imported manganese ore is expected to arrive in India in next 1 month and once production gets increased the prices will correct. The fate of balance 20% producers dependent upon state utility for power is bleak and these producers will have to further curtail their administrative and finance costs to remain in markets till the time market boom.

Asian Metal: Do you see the stainless steel sector and alloy steel recovering this new fiscal year ending March 2016?

Manoj Kasera: Not really till the automobile and realty sector booms. The country is in a transitional phase due to Geo-political changes and policy changes. The Government is envisaging a major foray into low cost housing sector but it will get materialized only in next fiscal. Similarly, smart town / bullet train concept is in a very nascent stage and will take more time to be a reality. The growth is more or less stable and automobile demand will rise once growth starts a rising trajectory.

Asian Metal: Do you experience regional price disparities? Traders continue to complain that low prices being offered by traders in Mumbai area as against fairly higher prices in other regional centers? What account for these price disparities?

Manoj Kasera: The difference in prices may be attributed to cheaper imports because of good infrastructure at Mumbai ports.

Asian Metal: Do you see any positive trajectory in the bulk alloys in India, especially on new ferrosilicon plants springing up in India given the fact that electricity cost in India is higher than in Bhutan?

Manoj Kasera: No. The ferro-silicon production incurs huge power costs (contributing almost 60-70% of total cost) and as rightly mentioned by you that the electricity cost in India is higher than in Bhutan, the competitiveness of Indian ferro-silicon producers will always be a question mark.

Asian Metal: Do you see India to continue to be net exporter of manganese alloys in the long-run should domestic demand increase exponentially?

Manoj Kasera: If the currency gets further devalued than India have a good chance to make its presence felt to the entire world and I think it should happen anytime, sooner or later.

Asian Metal: Any suggestion to policy makers regarding manganese alloys output and export?

Manoj Kasera: I never believe in short term largesse. The market should always move fundamentally to ensure longer term benefits.

Asian Metal: How about suggestion to industry operators and what should the market expect in the short and medium-term?

Manoj Kasera: Though difficult, but if the industry can unite to regulate their production according to demand and ensures that they will not bear losses, the market will get fundamental strength.

Asian Metal: Any other areas you may want to pass comments?

Manoj Kasera: I do want that we should fiercely compete for next few months so that non-viable units gets completely locked which may curtail supplies and once Indian Government decides to go for major spending in infrastructure (which I believe will happen only after next budget in Feb,2016), GOOD DAYS WILL COME FOR EVERYONE WHO CAN STRUGGLE AND SURVIVE FOR NEXT 1 YEAR.

Asian Metal: Thanks for your time and we wish you success .

Manoj Kasera: Thanks for the opportunity to interact with Asian Metal.