It hasn’t been a brilliant week for Lakshmi Niwas Mittal. First the chairman and main owner of steelmaker ArcelorMittal was reported to have put his ‘Summer Palace’, an 11-bedroom mansion set over an acre of land in north London, for rent.
Then his company reported losses for the third consecutive quarter.
Like his other neighbours on The Bishops Avenue in Hampstead locality, the Indian-born billionaire has reportedly struggled to sell his property in a climate of recession.
Mittal bought the house -- it has 11 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and six reception rooms, and a glass lift to a swimming pool -- for 6.75 million pounds in 1996.
After moving to the plusher Kensington Palace Gardens in 2004, into a 15-bedroom house he bought for a record 57 million pounds, Mittal put the Summer Palace up for sale.
But, apparently unable to find a buyer for a home that is worth around 40 million pounds, Mittal -- Britain’s richest man -- is now looking for tenants.
The rent won’t suit everyone’s pockets: Trevor Abrahmsohn of Glentree Estates, a company that has swung several deals on The Bishops Avenue, estimates that the Summer Palace could fetch 10,000 pounds a week.
"Post credit-crunch rents are down 20 per cent but a long-term tenant could be willing to pay up to 10,000 pounds a week," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying on Wednesday.
A source close to Mittal was quoted saying: "Mr Mittal has put a lot into the property and doesn’t want a cheap sale. He’s in no hurry."
Also on Wednesday, ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, reported its third consecutive quarterly loss.
The Luxembourg-based company said it posted a Q2 net loss of $792 million.
But Mittal, 58, told the Financial Times that emerging economies were coming out of the downturn "reasonably quickly" and that stimulus spending in the US and Europe was having an impact.
FT Alphaville, the paper’s daily news and commentary service, described the statement as "an unusually optimistic forecast".