The stage is set for the princely entry of Aditya Mittal, the 43-year-old son of billionaire Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, in Indian business. The London-based Mittal family-controlled ArcelorMittal-- the world's largest steel manufacturing company-- has won the legal battle to acquire bankrupt Essar Steel after two-year-long insolvency proceedings. The Supreme Court, on November 15 approved the Rs 42,000 crore takeover plan of ArcelorMittal.
Essar Steel, which has 10 million tonnes (MT) steel manufacturing complex in Hazira, Gujarat, is expected to be handed over to ArcelorMittal management in a month's time as when payments to lenders are made, said legal sources. The new management may be headed by Aditya Mittal, who is the President and Chief Financial Officer of ArcelorMittal. He is also the CEO of ArcelorMittal Europe.
Aditya Mittal has been leading the negotiations to acquire Essar Steel since 2017. A team led by the Mittal scion began the first round of due diligence on November 17, 2017, starting with a visit to Hazira plant of Essar. The workers who were present in the plant then were star-struck to see young Mittal, who walked into the plant, wearing safety gear. He took a close look at the production capabilities of Essar and had a long chat with workers.
Nowadays in India, the young generation from business families is becoming increasingly active in business responsibilities. So the likes of Mittal scion will be compared with that of the young Ambanis and Premjis, besides the new set of entrepreneurs in startups.
The acquisition of Essar Steel is going to be a fulfilling moment for both father and son. London-based Marwari businessman Lakshmi Mittal has long cherished owing a steel plant in India. His earlier firm Mittal Steel had signed an agreement with the Jharkhand government in 2005 to build a steel plant, but it expired after five years for failing to get the clearances. The Mittals, who acquired Arcelor in 2006, had tried to build plants in Odisha and Karnataka, which, too, failed to materialise. ArcelorMittal had formed a joint venture with Steel Authority of India (SAIL) in 2015 for manufacturing autograde steel but the venture is yet to take off.
Till date, Mittal has made just one investment in India-- the acquisition of 29.05 per cent stake in Uttam Galva, which itself went to NPA in 2017. But Mittals cleared its dues to be qualified to bid for Essar Steel and exited from Uttam Galva.
Aditya joined Mittal Steel in January 1997 and took charge of mergers and acquisitions within two years. He led the company's acquisition strategy, helping it to expand the empire to Central Europe, Africa and the US. Aditya became President and CFO in 2004. He has earned plaudits for his astute handling of the steel operations. He orchestrated the Mittal group's acquisition of Arcelor in 2006, creating the world's first 100 million tonnes plus steel company.
Aditya has won many international awards. At the philanthropic front, he worked with wife Megha, in child health. He is a supporter of the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London and funded the Mittal Children's Medical Centre. In India, the couple works closely with UNICEF and funded the first-ever country-wide survey into child nutrition.
Mittal, who holds Indian citizenship, holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics with concentrations in Strategic Management and Corporate Finance from the Wharton School in Pennsylvania, USA. He serves on the boards of Aperam, Iconiq Capital and Wharton School and is the chairman of India's second-largest oil refinery, HPCL-Mittal Energy (HMEL). He is also a trustee at Brookings Institute and an alumnus of the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader's Programme.
ArcelorMittal had posted $5.1 billion in profits on sales of $76 billion in 2018. The company is valued at $17 billion on the stock market, which is 92 per cent lower than its peak valuation in mid-2008. LN Mittal was the world's fourth wealthiest individual in 2008, but his ranking slid soon after with the global economic recession.