Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal on Sunday said he would be surprised if ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, will not be eligible to participate in the bid for Essar Steel.
ArcelorMittal and Numetal are the two bidders in the race to acquire debt-laden Essar Steel, currently undergoing insolvency proceedings as it owes more than Rs 45,000 crore to over 30 banks.
"Ultimately, I would be surprised if we are not eligible to participate in the bid for Essar Steel. ArcelorMIttal is the world's leading steel company. We are financially strong, we are ready to invest and bring our technology and our products and processes to India," Lakshmi N Mittal, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ArcelorMittal told PTI.
The Committee of Creditors (CoC) on May 2 had met representatives of ArcelorMittal and Numetal regarding their eligibility for Essar Steel and a decision is awaited.
Mittal, who has been trying to get a foothold in India for over a decade, said: "India is important to us. Of course for me personally I would like us to have a presence here in my home country".
But moreover, he asserted, "India is a strategic growth market and if you look at steel industry growth then the majority of growth in the coming years is going to come from the developing economies and that includes India".
Emphasising that under the present circumstances, India being a growth market, Mittal said "there is a strong strategic rationale for the company to establish a presence here".
Asked whether they would be open to organic, inorganic growth in India, Mittal in an email interview said: "At the moment we are focussed on Essar".
ArcelorMittal, last week, had said that "a swift decision" on the case will be in the best interest of all stakeholders.
Unable to register its presence in India for more than a decade, the worlds largest steel maker is eyeing entry in Indian steel market, which it believes has high growth potential, through Essar acquisition.
It has said that ArcelorMittal would be the most credible owner of Essar Steel and the company viewed the acquisition as a compelling opportunity for it to enter the Indian steel market.
The company has plans to increase Essar Steel?s output in long term to 15-20 million tonne per annum (MTPA) from the current about 6 MTPA.
The steel firm also said that if its bid is successful it would help India bridge its supply-demand gap and make a significant contribution to the Make-in-India initiative.
ArcelorMittal had bid for Essar Steel on 12 February.
ArcelorMittal has been trying for long to enter India but could not get any success so far. Over a decade back, it had announced to set up two plants - 12 million tonnes each in Jharkhand and Odisha.
ArcelorMittal is the worlds leading steel and mining company with a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 18 countries. It is a leading supplier of steel in major global markets.
In 2017, ArcelorMittal had revenues of USD 68.7 billion and crude steel production of 93.1 million tonnes, while its own iron ore production reached 57.4 MT. It is listed on the stock exchanges of New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Luxembourg and Spain.