President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Mordashov, Severstal is well known around the world and is one of the world’s largest vertically integrated mining and steelmaking companies. What is the capacity of your Cherepovets facility, 11.6 million tonnes?
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Severstal Alexei Mordashov: Yes, last year we turned out more than 11 million tonnes, or more precisely, 11.5 million tonnes of steel. Our personnel in Cherepovets numbers 30,000. Overall, Severstal employs nearly 50,000 people around the country.
In general, we are satisfied with our performance last year. We produced over 11 million tonnes of steel, we continue to implement our investment projects, and we pay taxes to all budgets. Last year we paid some 46 billion rubles in taxes.
We continue implementing our social programmes. Last year, we invested some 2.5 billion rubles in supporting children, Russian North museums, and so on.
We try to contribute to the social development of the regions where we have our facilities, because we know that it will be very difficult to implement the important social projects underway there without our support.
We carry on our investment programme. We know that we must live up to the requirements of our clients in Russia. Overall, we invested 34 billion rubles in our Russian assets last year.
We have launched a number of important investment projects, including a unit for applying zinc and polymer coating, primarily for construction and car manufacturing, and spent about 7 billion rubles on the project. A new ladle furnace worth 3 billion rubles has been put into operation.
Overall, we are developing operations in the hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel segments for car manufacturing… Carmakers’ requirements regarding the quality of our products are constantly growing.
Vladimir Putin: They have to be on a par with international competitors in terms of quality.
Alexei Mordashov: Yes, and we are moving in this direction with great resolve. We believe that our products are already as good as what international competitors offer. There are still specific types of products that we do not make yet, but let me assure you that we will learn to make them. We will meet the expectations of car manufacturers so as to enable them to make competitive products here in Russia.
Vladimir Putin: Your piping products have already earned a good reputation and the performance is quite robust in this segment.
Alexei Mordashov: Yes, thank you. Our company takes part in a number of major projects by Gazprom and Transneft to build oil and gas pipelines in Russia, including export pipelines. We are very grateful to them for promoting these projects, and hope that there will be more projects of this kind.
Vladimir Putin: They build pipelines, and then they have to repair and maintain them. This is a never-ending story, which creates massive demand.
Alexei Mordashov: Yes, we look forward to getting their orders. We are very grateful to Gazprom, primarily for the orders they place with us, for developing its pipeline network and ensuring its maintenance.
Vladimir Putin: I think that they will also have other major projects, including Nord Stream 2, and Turkish Stream project is in full swing. I think that Nord Stream 2 will be built. As you know, there is also a lot of work in Russia’s east. So I have no doubt that you will get to fulfil major orders.
On top of this, there are plans to implement a number of major infrastructure development projects, including bridges and other similar structures. We will seek to make sure that the metals industry operates at full capacity in the years to come.
Alexei Mordashov: Thank you very much. This is very important for us. We look forward to working on all these projects, and let me assure you that we will not let our customers down. We stand ready to supply the products they need.
Vladimir Putin: Good.