History of SAIL - Steel Authority of India.

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History of SAIL India History of SAIL

Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is a leading Indian producer of steel. In 2022, SAIL produced ~18 mt of liquid steel, and ranked as the 21st largest steelmaker in the world.

The timeline below covers the history of the firm.

  • 1954: Originally founded as Hindustan Steel.
  • 1955: Bhilai Steel established with help from Soviet Union.
  • 1956: Durgapur Steel Plant set up with help from the UK.
  • 1957: Hindustan Steel takes control of Bhilai and Durgapur Steel.
  • 1962: Wheel and Axle plant commissioned at Durgapur.
  • 1964: Bokaro Steel Ltd newly incorporated in January 1964.
  • 1967: Wire rod mill commissioned at Bhilai.
  • 1973: Steel Authority of India incorporated on 24th January.
  • 2000: Unfounded rumours circulate about privatisation of SAIL.
  • 2009: Acquires defunct Malvika Steel for Rs 209 crore.
  • 2012: Signs MoU to establish railway wagon factory in W Bengal.
  • 2016: Announces auto steel joint venture with ArcelorMittal.
  • 2019: Turns to Japanese & Koreans on auto jv discussions.
  • 2019: Rumours circulate about Gov cutting ownership stake.
  • 2020: Personnel fall ill after inhaling toxic gas at Bhilai.
  • 2020: Commissions 3 mt/year capacity hot strip mill at Rourkela.
  • 2020: Proposes to increase capacity to ~50 mt/yr by 2030.
  • 2020: Announces plan to commence production of head hardened rails in 2021.
  • 2021: Leakage in the Torpedo Ladle by BF#2 causes major fire at Bokaro plant.
  • 2022: Announces plan to expand crude steel capacity to 35mt by FY2031.
  • 2022: Sells remaining stake in S&T Mining to Tata Steel.
  • 2023: Mid-year, LIC increases in its ownership stake in SAIL to 8.68%.
  • 2023: Announces Rs 5500 crore capacity expansion plan.

  • 1918: Indian Iron and Steel Company (IISCO) was incorporated on 11 March 1918. The original IISCO iron works was located at Hirapur and was subsequently named the Hirapur Works. Much local construction activity took place in subsequent years, overseen by the firm Burn & Company. The new local township was thus named Burnpur. When the Steel Corporation of Bengal was incorporated in 1937 (with steel making facilities at Napuria, adjacent to the Hirapur Works) Burn & Co was appointed the managing agent. SCOB was amalgameted with IISCO in 1953 when a merger took place between the Napuria Works and the Hirapur Works; the resulting asset was named the Burnpur works.
  • 1923: Mysore Iron Works commences production. The facility is later renamed the Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISL), and becomes an alloy steel production unit of Steel Authority of India Limited.
  • 1952: Planning commences for Rourkela steel plant. Germany's Krupp and Demag provides financial and technical help during the construction of the steel plant.
  • 1954: Hindustan Steel was set up to have ownership of the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP). RSP was the first steel plant in Asia to use the Linz-Donawitz steelmaking process. The first blast furnace at RSP was inaugurated in 1955: Bhilai Steel Plant was the first Indian plant to manufactures steel rail.
  • 1956: Durgapur Steel was establlished in the late nineteen-fifties as a leading producer of steel long products.
  • 1957: Control of the steel plants at Bhilai and Durgapur was transferred to Hindustan Steel at this point by the Iron and Steel Ministry of India.
  • 1965: Bokaro Steel Plant (located in the Bokaro district of Jharkhand) is commissioned with Soviet collaboration. Bokaro was India's fourth integrated steel mill.
  • 1973: On incorporation, SAIL became the holding company for steel plants at Bhilai, Bokaro, Durgapur, Rourkela and Burnpur; and the Alloy Steel Plant and the Salem Steel Plant.
  • 2009: Malvika Steel was a 0.85 million tonne integrated steel plant based in Amethi that produced TMT bar. The plant only operated for three years before being shut down in 1998. Many observers saw the acquisition of this facility by SAIL in 2009 as a decision made under political pressure. At the time of the purchase, SAIL was said not to be keen on the takeover, because Malvika Steel was some way away from iron ore and coal sources. Indeed, even by 2015 under SAIL ownership, the facility was not operational. By then, the Malvika plant was deemed to be unfit for operation. As at 2020, the facility remains idled.
  • 2012: The Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Government of West Bengal and with the Burn Standard Company Ltd (an Indian Railways subsidiary) to establish a railway wagon factory.
  • 2016: This auto steel jv with ArcelorMittal was to be subject to some delays in later years. With production originally scheduled for 2018, little eprogress in the venture seems to have been made even by mid-2019. At that point, SAIL was reported to be in parallel talks with Nippon, JFE, Mitsubishi Steel & POSCO regarding the auto steel JV.
  • 2020: This incident took place in January 2020 next to blast furnace #8 at the Bhilai Steel plant. It was caused by material slippage in the BF, and an associated pressure build-up. This is the third accident at Bhilai Steel Plant following one in June 2019 which affected three people; and a major fire at the Coke Oven Battery No.11 during a scheduled maintenance activity in October 2018 in which 12 people lost their lives.
  • 2020: Consortium of L&T’s Metallurgical & Material Handling (MMH) business and Mitsubishi commissioned hot strip mill with a production capacity of three million tonnes per annum capacity, at SAIL's Odisha plant in February. The new HSM features technologies supplied by Primetals and by Hitachi Japan and will produce carbon structural steel, HSLA, high carbon steel, LPG cylinder steel, low alloy steel, API (up to X100) pipe steel and auto-grade steel. Hot rolled coil thickness will be between 1.2mm to 25.4mm, with width between 725mm to 2150mm and a coil weight of up to 35t.
  • 2020: India's National Steel Policy (prepared in 2017) envisages the country's steelmaking capacity to reach 300 million tonne per annum by 2030. Within this, and as part of its Vision 2030 programme, SAIL considered itself as having 50 mt of steelmaking capacity; and in Q1 2020 was reported to be planning its investments accordingly.
  • 2020: Head-hardened rails are used in railway tracks subjected to maximum stress and can take loads that are 50% higher than standard steel rails. SAIL has set up facilities for the production of head hardened rails at its new Universal Rail Mill at its Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh.
  • 2021: The company said that there were no casualties associated with the hot metal spill at the Bokaro Works, or the associated fire. Flames were doused within ~90 minutes.
  • 2022: This represents a capacity increase of 13 mt / year, from the current level of ~22 mt / year. Various site locations for the expansion project were being evaluated as at mid-2022.
  • 2022: S&T Mining was a 50:50 joint venture between Tata Steel and SAIL. The JV was incorporated for the purpose of acquiring coal blocks, carrying out exploration, and obtaining regulatory approvals and licences for the extraction and mining of coal.
  • 2023: LIC denotes the Life Insurance Corporation of India.
  • 2023: Plan announced in October 2023 is to boost SAIL's annual capacity from the current 20.6 million tonnes (mt) to 35 million tonnes by 2031-32. Scale of this capacity expansion - according to press reports - raised debt concerns amongst some investors.

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