'No way Tatas could have bid for Corus ten years back'
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'No way Tatas could have bid for Corus ten years back'

FM at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas said the Tatas would not have bid for Corus ten years back.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2007 16:20 IST

Would Tatas have bid for the Anglo-Dutch steel giant Corus 10 years back? While Finance Minister P Chidambaram believes the group would not have 'dared' to think about it, Ratan Tata feels he simply could not have because of the 'restricted' government policies then.

"If ten years back I were to ask Tata if he would have bid for Corus, he would have said 'I don't know'. But in his heart he would have asked 'How could I dare to?'," Chidambaram said while speaking at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi.

The finance minister was referring to how Indian firms have changed their outlook and thinking of expanding horizons to exploit opportunities in a rapidly globalising world.

"But today India has changed and that Tatas have bid for Corus," he added.

Ratan Tata, however, differed with Chidambaram's views and said it was not the lack of vision for expansion that would have prevented his group from bidding for Corus, but because of the existing government policies at that time.

"I have a different view from the finance minister. I would have simply told him that I could not (have bid for Corus)... Because of the policies," Tata said.

Tata, whose firm Tata Steel is pitched against Brazil's CSN for acquiring Europe's second-largest steelmaker Corus Group Plc in a deal that will create the world's fifth-largest steel company, said the policies ten years ago had a lot of restrictions and foreign exchange remittance was a big hurdle.

The reforms process in the past few years have now enabled Indian entrepreneurs to go global, he added.

"As an Indian entrepreneur, I can say lots have changed and policies are much friendlier now," Tata said.

First Published: Jan 09, 2007 15:51 IST