New Delhi: Unperturbed by its rival Posco’s steel joint venture with state-run Sail, world’s number one steel maker ArcelorMittalon Sunday said it too was in talks with the public sector company but only that it was not in a race.
“We will continue to look at various opportunities in India or anywhere. We are also in dialogue with SAIL ...We are not in the race. We are here to establish a sustainable system. We can create values for our company and for SAIL and ultimately we can create value for the country,” ArcelorMittal chairman and CEO L N Mittal told PTI.
It happens so that both Posco and ArcelorMittal announced their intent to set up large steel projects in India way back in 2005, but things have hardly moved on the ground largely owing to land acquisition troubles.
Asked if the global steel behemoth is discussing a mining joint venture or some other engagements with the country’s largest steel maker, Mittal said, “I don’t like to comment on the specifics of an ongoing dialogue. When you are in the dialogue you discuss so many things and I do not want to zero own to one idea.”
Faced with inordinate delays in launching its ambitious Rs one lakh crore steel projects in Jharkhand and Orissa, ArcelorMittal had started looking at new opportunities in states like Maharashtra, besides tying up with domestic firm Uttam Galva.
The company is also reportedly in talks with Bhushan Power and Steel among other local steel makers.
However, Mittal said, “I do not make comments on any dialogue with any company.”
South Korean steel maker Posco had entered into a technical pact with Sail in 2007 and was also working on opportunities to jointly set up Rs12,000-crore steel plants with the Indian company for last one year.
Steel minister Virbhadra Singh had earlier this year said that Sail is open to joining hands with a global steel firm to set up a steel project to meet the country’s rising steel demand.
Japan’s Kobe steel was also keen to join hands with Sail. A JV with Sail may give the firms easy access to vast tracts of land available with the Indian firm especially in Jharkhand.
Problems in land acquisition and associated tribal protests have been holding back the big ticket investments in India--like that of Posco and ArcelorMittal.
India’s per capita steel consumption hovers at around Rs46 kg as against the global average of 198 kg. Sail with an annual production capacity of 14 million tonnes at present is in process of enhancing its capabilities to produce 60 million tonnes by 2020.