SAIL-ArcelorMittal $1 billion joint venture to be finalized by December: Govt

Steel minister Chaudhary Birendra Singh says he has asked both companies to complete formalities to start the joint venture by December


A file photo of a Steel Authority of India (SAIL) plant.
A file photo of a Steel Authority of India (SAIL) plant.

New Delhi: The proposed $1 billion joint venture (JV) between ArcelorMittal SA and Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) will be finalized by December, steel minister Chaudhary Birendra Singh said on Wednesday.

“I have told them (SAIL and ArcelorMittal) that JV formalities should be completed by December. It should be decided by December this year,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of an event by Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Singh met ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Mittal in London last month and discussed the JV, which aims at setting up an automotive steel plant in India.

The meeting was also attended by SAIL chairman P.K. Singh, ArcelorMittal Europe group CFO and CEO Aditya Mittal as well as executive vice-president and head of global automotive Brian Aranha—who is leading the JV discussions on behalf of ArcelorMittal.

ArcelorMittal and state-owned SAIL inked a pact in May last year to explore the possibility of setting up an automotive steel manufacturing unit under a JV arrangement.

The proposed JV will construct world-class facilities for manufacturing automotive steel that will offer technologically advanced steel products for India’s rapidly growing automotive sector.

The hot-rolled input products for the proposed facility will be supplied by SAIL’s new hot strip mill in Rourkela, Odisha, thus making the entire value chain indigenous. The maharatna firm does not produce automotive steel and the JV will help it expand its product portfolio.

The Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal said India is forecast to become the world’s third-largest automobile manufacturing nation by 2026, with passenger vehicles likely to grow from around 3 million units today to over 7 million units in the next 10 years.

In an investor presentation in June 2015, the company had said the proposed steel plant will come up at a major auto cluster in India. India has four major auto clusters—Pune-Chakan belt in Maharashtra, on the outskirts of Chennai in Tamil Nadu; Sanad in Gujarat and Gurgaon-Neemrana belt spread across Haryana and Rajasthan.

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