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Know LN Mittal

Mittal is said to have a knack of buying sick and rusted steel companies and turning them into gold!

india Updated: May 02, 2006 18:36 IST

Lakshmi Narayan Mittal (also known as Lakshmi Niwas Mittal) is a billionaire industrialist.

LN Mittal was born on June 15, 1950 in Sadulpur, in Churu district of Rajasthan, and residing in Kensington Palace Gardens, London, UK.

Mittal is currently ranked the 5th richest man in the world, according to Forbes Rich List, with a worth of $23.5 billion.

He grew up in a poor family in Sadulpur, living with his extended family on bare concrete floors and rope beds in a house built by his grandfather.

His family, from the Marwari Agarwal caste, eventually moved to Kolkata where his father, Mohan, became a partner in a steel company.

Lakshmi graduated from St Xavier's College in Kolkata with a business degree in 1969. His classmates knew him as a sharp student who was good with numbers.

In 1994, he branched out on his own, taking over the international operations of the Mittal steel business.

Today he is chairman and CEO of the Mittal Steel Company NV, which is the world's largest producer of steel, with steel assets in Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, South Africa, Poland, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, the United States, Ukraine and other countries. He was the Fortune European Businessman of the Year for 2004.

Midas Touch

By his vision and hard work, Mittal has built the moderate business of his family into a global steel giant, which spans across many countries.

The companies of the LNM Ispat group include Ispat international NV, Ispat Karmet and Indo Ispat.

From the core business of steel manufacturing, his group is now diversifying into shipping, coal, power and oil enterprises.

The most fascinating thing about this man is that he is said to have a knack of buying sick and rusted steel companies and turning them into gold!

His capability to quote the cost of these sick companies make him winner all the way.

It is no mean achievement that when the global steel industry is in its worst recession phase, Mittal's steel plants are churning huge profits!

Politically 'incorrect'

In 2002, he was embroiled in a political scandal, dubbed Mittalgate, with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. A donation he had made to the British Labour Party had led to Blair's intervention (a letter to the Romanian prime minister) in a business deal favouring Mittal. On July 13, 2005 it was announced that he had donated £2 million to the Labour Party.

Personal Wealth

In March 2005, he was reported to be the third wealthiest person -- now he has slipped to the fifth at $23 billion --  in the world by Forbes Magazine (Up from 63rd richest in 2004), with an estimated wealth of US$35 billion.

This had made him the richest man in the world outside the USA, as number 1 (Bill Gates) and number 2 (Warren Buffett) are both US citizens.

The Mittal family owns 88% of Mittal Steel, according to The Guardian.

His residence in Kensington, bought in 2003 for £70 million ($128 million) from Formula One car racing boss Bernie Ecclestone, is said to be the most expensive house ever bought.

Mittal has two children. He paid over $60 million to host his daughter Vanisha's wedding celebration in Vaux le Vicomte in 2004, regarded as the most expensive wedding in the world. His son Aditya is a director of Mittal Steel.