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India plant remains a dream: Lakshmi Mittal

PTI     July 27, 2011
He may be the world's largest steel producer but Lakshmi Mittal 's dream to have a plant in his homeland (India) continues to be a distant dream, thanks to regulatory hurdles.

"In India, we have got couple of ambitions and they are all ambitions at this time because the progress is slow," Mittal said in a conference call with reporters, while speaking on ArcelorMittal 's second quarter results.

Expressing hopes that some day his plans will be realised and his company ArcelorMittal will begin construction of steel plants in the country, he, however, further said, "I do not know how and when."

After its failure to make any headway in setting up two large plants of 12 million tonnes per annum capacity in Jharkhand and Orissa, ArcelorMittal shifted its strategy in the country last year to setting up smaller projects with potential investment of $1.5 to $3 billion range.

The Jharkhand and Orissa plants were supposed to attract an investment over $10 billion each.

However, the Lakshmi Mittal's firm is now banking on its Karnataka project, where it has plans to set up steel mill of 6 MTPA in two phases, along side a captive 750-MW power plant.

"We continue to march slowly... I hope it will be slow and steady (progress)," Mittal said, adding, "We are making progress in India."

Land acquisition has been sailing smoothly for the Karnataka plant, which entails an investment of Rs 30,000 crore ($6.5 billion), an official of the company had said earlier this month.

The official had further said that about half of the required land has been acquired by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board and ArcelorMittal was waiting to get possession.

The company, which follows calender year, on Wednesday posted a 10 per cent dip in net income (profit) for the second quarter ended June 30, 2011 at $1.535 billion against a profit of $1.706 billion in the corresponding quarter last year.

During the quarter under review, total sales of the company grew to $25.126 billion against $20.154 billion in the April-June quarter of last fiscal.

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