Steel magnate Mittal spreads wings to mines, banks

Mittal and his sonAfter conquering the steel industry two years ago, Lakshmi Mittal was soon looking for his next challenge.

Indian-born Mittal, the dominant shareholder in the world’s largest steel group ArcelorMittal, has been racing to boost control over raw materials such as iron ore and coal and has also landed a seat on the board of a top US investment bank.

Named after Lakshmi, the Hindu deity of prosperity and wealth, Mittal has a fortune of $45 billion, making him the fourth-richest man in the world and No. 1 in Europe, according to Forbes magazine.

After winning a takeover battle for Arcelor in 2006, Mittal has not only focussed on further expanding his steel empire but also having more control over raw materials.

The company is already self-sufficient for nearly half of its iron ore supplies and wants to boost this to 70 per cent by 2012.

The decision to buy iron ore and coal mines was a shrewd move, giving his group a key advantage over rivals who are fully exposed to iron ore and coal prices that have soared by 380 percent and 600 percent respectively since 2001.

On Sunday, ArcelorMittal said it had increased its stake in Australian miner Macarthur Coal Ltd to 19.9 percent, the most allowed in Australia before a firm must make a full takeover bid, as part of a strategy to safeguard its raw materials supply..

Mittal even considered joining a takeover battle for miner Rio Tinto and buying a stake in the world’s second-largest iron ore producer, but decided against the move.

After piling up a fortune through a blistering series of takeovers that consolidated the steel sector, Mittal has become a director of investment bank Goldman Sachs, a mastermind of many top merger deals.

Courtesy :- Economic Times

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