In next 10 years, Vedanta will be another Exxon: Anil Agarwal
Nowhere else in the world do we see the kind of growth we see in India, says Agarwal.
Now the burning issue is trade war. The Chinese do not want a trade war but if Americans want one, they will not be quiet. The world is trying to understand what will change for metal demand, global trade and global growth if the trade war moves into the second phase. Over the last 40-50 years, the world had opened up and now it could start to close down again.
It is very unfortunate that this is happening but in the process, I believe India will have a very advantageous position. India will be a balancing factor as in India, demands are growing tremendously. I believe Mr Modi is going to emerge as a very powerful man and will balance the trade war. Let one or two months go and you will see how Mr Modi and India will be balancing factors.
Because of this trade war, India has become a dumping ground and whether it is aluminium, coal or commodity scrap, they have been dumping it here. That is a very warning situation for India but this will be sorted out in 30 days time.
When you say this is going to get sorted out soon, what will lead to that softening of stance both from US as well as China’s end?
Americans will have a little bit heavy hand. At this point of time, China cannot afford to go all out against America but they have to settle down. And the way Iran has reacted against American charge of drowning tankers, it appears everybody is balancing, Mr Trump is a very strong personality and I think he will be a balancing factor and if Mr Modi’s statements come in, that will also help.
Looking at the next five years, how do you see global metal prices shape up and do you believe commodities cycle will not get impacted because of China slowdown? Will India be impacted at all?
If you see India growth, in every sector, there is double digit growth. In every sector, oil consumption is almost double digit. The aluminium consumption, the steel consumption, the infrastructure buildup is 10%. Nowhere in the world do we see that kind of growth. In India, with Mr Modi’s very open policy, if you do honest work, you will have a way. I am very optimistic that Indian position will be a very good sweetener in the world trade.
Logically, the government would want money to meet their expenditure. Do you think disinvestment and privatisation will be a priority?
Cabinet decision is already there to sell shares in the market. They have sold the share of Cairn. The cabinet approval is there and they will be doing that straightaway, I think.
Sterlite Tech had this positive announcement with regards to the pledged shares. Could we expect something similar in Vedanta?
Yes, definitely we are working on it and the pledge will be removed but in general, the leverage is one which accelerates the company. Our company is cash rich. It has always paid the dividend and we always plan everything. Nobody should be worried that we will be going anywhere and anything is wrong with the company. I completely assure that we will be working on removal of the pledge as soon as possible.
Tell us about the next 10 years for Vedanta. Where do you see it and the group companies headed over the next decade?
Vedanta will be another Exxon, an anchor from India. It will be one of the large and environmentally conscious companies to produce the largest quantity of oil for the country. As an anchor country, we will be another BHP model which will be looking to explore and produce the maximum natural resource out of our country and other opportunities wherever we get.
I am so very excited about the natural resource scenario and the people of our company are phenomenal. We are one of the largest sites in the world to produce oil in the world. We have mines where world class people are working and I am looking to create a better BHP, a technological BHP for India because India is much bigger and we have huge domestic consumption.
No other oil or mining company has such huge domestic consumption. I am very bullish and I think in 10 years time or much before that, Vedanta will be one of the best and the largest producers of oil and gas. It will be another BHP, producing natural resource of any kind -- be it coal, aluminium, gold, silver or iron ore. Number three, Sterlite Technology will be the technology company out of India which will do three things; one, consumer electronics. We will be looking at how import can be stopped as far as the consumer goods are concerned -- be it a cell phone, computer or TV. Number two, all the glass products which is used in electronics. We should look at artificial intelligence and look to deploy fibre at the 5G level to make a system integration software. This is how I am seeing these two companies will do going forward.