‘Education is a philanthropic effort and not business for us’
India CSR News Network
NEW DELHI: Naveen Jindal has many facets to his personality. He is a Member of Parliament, the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and a sports enthusiast. The youngest son of Late O.P. Jindal, the steel visionary and former Minister for Power in the government of Haryana, Naveen Jindal is the man behind the transformation of a moderately performing company into a world class organization.
JSPL is now also focusing on other areas besides steel and power. How is this diversification shaping up?
A. As much as 90% of our investment is in our core competence—steel and power. And mining is a related activity to steel that I do not consider different.
So I would not really term it as diversification. There are other segments like oil and gas that we are involved in, specifically in Bolivia, Georgia and other locations. As for our presence in real estate, we don’t have plans to expand, but whatever few projects we have, we’ll do a good job of them.
After JSPL acquired Oman’s Shadeed Iron & Steel Co in July last year, there is again noise about you bidding for Australian mining company Rocklands Richfields Ltd.
Do you feel you are too aggressive on acquisitions?
No, I don’t think we have been aggressive at all. We just acquired one steel plant in Oman last year for $500 million. We have been trying for the Rocklands acquisition, but it has had its own challenges.
In the broader picture, mines in Bolivia, coal mines in South Africa or Mozambique, all these are essential. And the steel plant in Oman, even though it was pretty expensive, is still an important one. The plant is already making minor profits and things look good for the future.
How did the backward integration policy come about?
It has all been the vision of my father. He was always clear that we must have backward integration. Our employees refused to use the iron ore and coal mines that we had, but my father insisted we use this raw material only.
Through beneficiation of ore and technology we have been successful in making high quality products with whatever raw material was at our disposal.
We hear a lot of buzz about your interest in the education sector.
We are very keen on education, but as a philanthropic effort and not a business. I have a dream to train one lakh youngsters every year in vocational training, which is not an easy job. My favourite project is the OP Jindal University.
We have a law school and a good business school too. We are starting a school of international affairs and are also interested in starting a school of public policy and government.
(Financial Express /INDIACSR)