Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Arcelor bid: EU against racial discrimination

NDTV: "The European Union (EU) has reacted to reports of opposition to steel tycoon Laxmi Mittal's takeover bid of Europe's largest steelmaker, Arcelor. The EU said it was against racial discrimination and the issue should be treated only on commercial considerations.

However, he made it clear that the EU would be concerned if there were any violations of competition rules and the takeover created a monopoly kind of situation. Mittal is facing bitter resistance in his takeover bid of the French company, Arcelor. The latest opposition comes from Luxembourg, which is looking at a law to fight Mittal's bid.

Earlier, there were reports that New Delhi could take up the matter with French President Jacques Chirac when he visits the country later this month. But Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma, while regretting the narrow mindset, said diplomatic relations cannot be held hostage to one issue.

Mittal Steel is the world's biggest steel producer with an annual production of 70 million tonnes. In comparison, Arcelor makes about 44 million tonnes and India about 33 million tonnes. Mittal's rise in the 80s and 90s attracted attention. He inherited his father steel business and expanded it exponentially.

He took over sick steel units from Indonesia to the Caribbean and turned them around. And his rapid growth came in the late 90s, the time of a recession in the steel industry, which he used to his advantage. True to his Marwari roots, the Rajasthan born and Kolkata-educated Mittal retained his family at the heart of his $31 billion empire. His daughter Vanisha is on the board of directors and his son Aditya is Mittal Steel's chief financial officer. "

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