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India rejoices at Arcelor takeover

Leaders hailed Mittal's successful bid as the 'entrepreneurial abilities' of Indians.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 12:27 IST

Steel baron Lakshmi Mittal's successful takeover bid of European steel firm Arcelor was on Monday hailed in India as a sign of the rise of Indian business leaders on the global stage.

Ministers feted Mittal, businessmen said he had made them proud to be an Indian, while newspapers and TV stations went into a frenzy reporting the culmination of a five-month-long battle that had triggered charges of xenophobia against Mittal's opponents.

The rejoicing came a day after Arcelor bowed to an improved 25.6 billion Euro ($32.2 billion) takeover bid from Mittal Steel to create a global giant three times larger than its nearest rival.

Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram led the country's praise for the British resident.

"We are happy and proud that an Indian-born entrepreneur is the biggest steel maker in the world," Chidambaram was quoted as saying in a local newspaper.

Trade Minister Kamal Nath said that the deal demonstrated the "intellectual and entrepreneurial abilities" of Indians and the people of Indian origin.

"There's a new economic architecture and countries that have had a different mindset will now have accept that India is going to be a major player in the new global architecture," Nath said.

Mittal's bid for Luxembourg-based Arcelor had faced stiff opposition from several European governments, including Luxembourg and France, which had initially vowed to fight what they said was a hostile takeover attempt.

Indian business leaders had called the European reaction xenophobic.