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Doing business in India tough, says Mittal

ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steel manufacturing company, is finding India a difficult country to work in, its chief executive and chairman Lakshmi Niwas Mittal said on Wednesday.

world Updated: Apr 30, 2009 03:08 IST

ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steel manufacturing company, is finding India a difficult country to work in, its chief executive and chairman Lakshmi Niwas Mittal said Wednesday.

“We realise it’s not easy to build greenfield projects in India,” Mittal said at a press conference held to announce first quarter results for his Luxembourg-based company. Mittal said the entire process of building a greenfield project — from land acquisition to getting mining rights and ensuring infrastructure availability — has been “pretty slow”.

“We are working with governments but progress has been pretty slow for approvals,” he said.

He said the global downturn may be slowing down demand in India and that it was “important for us to monitor the economic environment”. ArcelorMittal recently announced it was delaying its projects in Orissa and Jharkhand by two years.

The company, announcing results for the three months ended March 31, said it posted a net loss of $1.1 billion, after making a profit of $2.37 billion a year earlier. Sales of $15.1 billion were down 32 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008.

The company also announced plans to raise $3 billion from the sale of shares and bonds as part of its strategy to reduce debts.