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Posted by on Jun 26, 2006 in At TMV | 17 comments

India’s Lakshmi Mittal : World’s New Steel King


When America’s King of Steel, immigrant Scot Andrew Carnegie, sold Carnegie Steel to J.P. Morgan more than 100 years ago, for $480 million, the renowned financier told him, “Congratulations, Mr. Carnegie, you are the richest man in the world.”

Carnegie who had grown up in poverty in Scotland to become one of America’s most ruthless and successful businessmen, became a philanthropist and funded about 3,000 libraries around the world, including several in Ireland.

Today, says Finfacts Ireland, the world has a new King of Steel with a global presence. Lakshmi Mittal was born poor in a small Rajasthani town in north-western India. He spent his first years in Sadulpur, living with his extended family on bare concrete floors and rope beds in a house built by his grandfather.

Lakshmi Mittal, the world’s third richest man, on Sunday sealed his position as the global steel industry’s key player by winning rival steelmaker Arcelor, ending a bitter five-month takeover battle that was sometimes infused with racist overtones. On Sunday, Arcelor agreed to a revised offer from Mittal Steel worth 25.6 billion euros ($32.2 billion).

The Indian-born steel tycoon, Lakshmi Mittal, is now the third richest person in the world, trailing only the Microsoft chief, Bill Gates, and the U.S. investment guru, Warren Buffett. Forbes.com says Mittal is now worth $23.5 billion.

“Mittal Steel and Arcelor were already the world number one and two. As Arcelor-Mittal, Lakshmi Mittal will run a steel company three times the size of its nearest rival,” says Reuters.

“Mittal, 56, who made his multibillion dollar fortune by leading consolidation of the steel industry, has said acquiring rival steelmaker Arcelor would mark a step change in the process, creating a behemoth with 10 percent of world volume.

“Lakshmi Nivas Mittal, named after the Hindu deity of prosperity and wealth, started work in his father’s mill in Calcutta at a time when many had written the steel industry off.

“He went on to make his fortune by transforming ailing steel mills around the globe into money spinners by cutting costs, exploiting economies of scale, and selling higher-value products into a growing market.”

Mittal’s taste for ostentation is wellknown and generally looked down upon by Europe’s top industrial houses. In 2004, he bought a 12-bedroom mansion in Kensington for 70 million pounds. He spent an estimated 80 million euros on his daughter Vanisha’a wedding.

The venues for the wedding? The awesome Palace of Versailles, where the French ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV held court in the 17th century and the 17th-century Vaux le Vicomte, acknowledged as ‘the finest chateau and garden’ in France.

Mittal steels has assets in Romania, South Africa, the United States, Poland, France, Indonesia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

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