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Mittal Steel eyes India, China markets

The Rotterdam-based firm expects to expand in Asia to meet surging demand from their fast-growing economies.

business Updated: Oct 05, 2005 10:55 IST

Billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, owner of Mittal Steel Co, the world's largest steelmaker, expects to expand in India and China to meet surging demand for the metal from their fast-growing economies.

"China is clearly the largest producer and consumer of steel," London-based Mittal in Seoul told Bloomberg. "And we, being the largest steel company in the world, must have our foot inside the door," said Mittal, who owns 88 per cent of the company and ranks third on Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people.

Mittal Steel, based in Rotterdam, plans to increase output to an annual 100 million tons from 70 million tons in coming years, partly through acquisitions, to keep ahead of rivals such as Luxembourg's Arcelor.

In India, the economy expanded at the fastest pace in more than a year in the three months ended June, growing 8.1 per cent from the same period a year earlier, the Central Statistical Organisation said in New Delhi.

"India offers an opportunity for greenfield projects, because India produces just 35 million tons against China producing 350 million tons," Mittal said.

Mittal Steel may sign a memorandum of understanding shortly to mine for iron ore in Jharkhand. "We expect that in a couple of weeks we should have an outcome of our negotiations in Jharkhand," he said.

The state government will award Mittal a concession, allowing the company to mine a deposit that may contain 600 million tons of iron ore, Arun Kumar Singh, Jharkhand's secretary of mines and geology, said on phone.

First Published: Oct 05, 2005 10:47 IST