Mittal Steel's battle for acquiring Arcelor is long over and the dust settled and as NRI steel tycoon LN Mittal prepares to shift operations in Luxembourg from Holland this year, Luxembourgers who frowned at his bid are now finding themselves capable of laughing at the past.
Such is the growing bonhomie between Mittal Steel and Arcelor that these days the Luxembourg government is showing off the deal as "an indication that Luxembourg has a globalisation outlook." A year ago, insults like "They make eau de Cologne, we make perfume" was a commonly accepted description of the deal in Luxembourg.
"We have an international outlook because it is a question of our survival, given the small size and economy of our country," Budget and Justice Minister Luc Frieden told a group of visiting Indian journalists in Luxembourg recently.
Frieden, who is scheduled to visit India for three days starting January 24, brushes aside any suggestion of an anti-India hype when the Mittals first put in an unsolicited bid for Arcelor. In fact, he is candid enough to say: "I need business and business needs politics." The 47-year-old leader of Christian Socialist Party said the buzz created by the Mittals' bid for Arcelor was due to the "suddenness" of the action and had nothing to do with the Mittals' country of origin.
Trust Frieden to know everything about the deal, as it was he, along with Economic Minister Jeannot Krecke, who had undertaken extensive behind-the-scene negotiations with LN Mittal and his son Aditya Mittal at undisclosed destinations in Europe in the run up to the takeover of Arcelor.