Billionaire Sajjan Jindal’s JSW Group is set to boost investments to about $65 billion over the next seven years as it seeks to secure a slice of India’s infrastructure development, a financial times reported and quoted him in an interview.
JSW Group also aims to expand in sectors from defense to electric vehicles (EVs), alongside targeting “aggressive growth” in renewable energy, Jindal said in the interview.
He said the plan, which represents more than double the $25 billion the group had invested over the past decade, will be funded primarily from the company’s own money and sales of stock, according to the report.
Jindal said steel is “a cyclical business and we cannot afford to have a highly leveraged regime,” according to the FT.
However, JSW would borrow to fund its expansion into renewable energy, the report quoted Jindal as saying, adding that the group plans to be “the least leveraged company in the energy space.”
Jindal said JSW would bid “100%” for lithium blocks in Jammu and Kashmir, which the report says the government is due to auction later this year.
The plans show how the country’s biggest industrialists are trying to capitalize on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s priority of revitalizing the country’s infrastructure and turning it into an economic powerhouse.
Jindal has led JSW Group as Chairman since 2011, growing its metals business into the country’s largest publicly traded steel company with a market value of ~1.7 trillion. The group also has a publicly traded energy business and unlisted paint, cement and port units.
According to the Hindenburg report on Adani, Jindal had initially pledged to support rival industrialist Gautam Adani. Jindal said his motivation is “to have solidarity with our peers in the industry” and that Adani did not ask him to invest any money, according to the interview. “Adani will receive this as a learning experience and then take measured steps accordingly for the future,” he said. “I think this Hindenburg thing had a decisive blow or impact on Adani. Their growth will slow down…but I’m sure they’ll bounce back,” he said.
As reported in FT, Jindal said JSW would take out loans to fund renewable energy expansion. JSW Group’s total debt is $10 billion, he said, versus revenue of $22 billion and operating profits of $6 billion for fiscal 2022.