HEG’s margin tampered due to higher needle coke prices: Manish Gulati, CMO & COO
Now, we are operating in a stable environment. So, when you are comparing Q4FY2018-19 with Q4FY2017-18, year-on-year (YoY), then the pricing was almost the same but higher prices of needle coke, which is a prime raw material for HEG, led to a contraction in the fourth quarter, says Manish Gulati, CMO & COO of HEG Ltd.
HEG Ltd.’s operating margin contracted in the fourth quarter due to higher prices of needle coke, a key raw material, which has been increasing every six months, says its CMO & COO, Manish Gulati, in an interview with Swati Khandelwal, Zee Business. Gulati also added that prices of electrodes have remained almost the same when compared to the same quarter of last year. Excerpts:
The results are weak on both basis and quarterly basis and a lot of pressure have been felt on margin and profit. How was electrode prices trend in this period?
See, if you compare the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 with the same quarter of fiscal 2018 then our prices were almost the same. When it comes to pressure then you are comparing the results of this quarter with the results of the previous quarter, when we reaped the benefits of spot prices for continuous two quarters.
But, now, we are operating in a stable environment. So, when you are comparing Q4FY2018-19 with Q4FY2017-18, year-on-year (YoY), then the pricing was almost the same but higher prices of needle coke, which is a prime raw material for HEG, led to a contraction in the fourth quarter.
There is a need to understand the prices of Needle Coke as it is putting huge pressure on the margins. Are the prices of Needle Coke going up?
So far in 2017-18 and 2018-19, the Needle Coke suppliers have increased their prices every six months. However, the price negotiations for July to December 2019 period will be completed in June and then we will know that the prices are going up or remain stable are existing levels or will go down.
Destocking by steel companies has gone down and steel production and demand is on a rise. Do you think that the problems associated with the graphite electrode sector will come to an end soon?
Our steel customers were in anxiety last year as it seemed that there is a shortage of electrode. So, almost every company bought little more than what they needed at a time. For instance, companies who had two months stock in reserve started stocking for the next 4-5 months and they also committed a lot because of the anxiety. And, I think that the situation will correct in the next 2-3 months and then demand will be equal to supply.