ArcelorMittal plans $20 bn India foray

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New Delhi, Jun 2: World's largest steel maker ArcelorMittal, which plans to set up two 12 million tonnes (MT) per annum plants in the country, will begin investing 20 billion dollars starting 2009. ''The company expects to break ground on one of the Indian projects before the end of 2009,'' CNN quoted ArcelorMittal's London-based Head (Investor Relations) Julien Onillon as saying last week.

The two identical projects are to come up in Jharkhand and Orissa and would add 24 MT annual steel production capacity. Mr Onillon did not rule out a rise in cost of implementing the projects, which were announced as early as 2005 (Jharkhand) and 2006 (Orissa). ''India is a very exciting growth story for us,'' he said, adding that ''India's per capital consumption of steel is only 40 kg, compared with 500 kg for Europe and 270 kg for China.

CNN quoted Mr Onillion saying he does not expect the company to face any problems over its proposed investment in India. Last month, ArcelorMittal had announced a new leadership for India with Vijay Bhatnagar as Country CEO and Sanak Mishra as CEO (Greenfield Operations).

The first Indian project was likely to be developed in two phases, each of six million tonnes and is subject to market conditions.

''We don't want to destabilise the market, so it could be in three phases,'' he said.


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