London: Steel tycoon Lakshmi Niwas Mittal has pledged an investment of about $20 billion for building two 12-million-tonne steel plants in India, where the demand for the commodity is growing rapidly.
Arcelor Mittal, world’s largest steelmaker, will spend $35 billion on capacity expansion of steel plants across the world, the company CEO said in an interview with the Financial Times.
“Of the $35 billion, $20 billion will go on two steel plants in India, in the states of Jharkhand and Orissa. If all goes according to plan, each plant will be making 12 million tonnes of steel a year by around 2015,” he told the daily.
According to the report, Mittal believed that two plants in India made sense in a country where the demand for steel was growing fast, even though many in the industry had assumed that only one of the two projects would go ahead.
By 2020, India could be consuming 200 million tonnes of steel a year (roughly four times higher than now), the steelmaker said.
The overall spending plans, with significant focus on India, were justified by strong demand for steel in most countries, Mittal pointed out.
Most of the company’s customers were not exposed to the recent credit problems in the banking and financial markets, he said, adding that “I continue to see conditions for the steel industry as being very favourable.”
Pointing out that steel demand was noticeably weak in the US, Mittal said this, however, would have a limited effect on Arcelor Mittal, since only about a fifth of its steel was sold there.
Of the total money $10 billion will be spent on increasing the capacity of Arcelor Mittal’s existing steel plants, mainly in regions experiencing high economic growth, such as in Brazil, Mexico, Ukraine, South Africa, Kazakhstan and eastern Europe.
Excluding the new Indian plants, the company’s steel output is likely to rise from 110 million tonnes last year to 131 million tonnes in 2012, the Financial Times said.
The projections assume world steel demand will rise by about 5% a year with consumption considerably higher in high-growth nations such as India, China and Russia, it said.
Of the total money about $5 billion was earmarked for adding to the capacity of Arcelor Mittal’s iron ore mines, the daily added.