Arcelor may set up Indian plant

New Delhi, March 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2005, 05:30am hrs
After South Korean steel major Posco, worlds second largest steelmaker Arcelor has set its eyes on India. The Luxembourg-based 42 million tonne steel giant is looking at a major greenfield investment in the country. Arcelor is keen to have a manufacturing presence in India, steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday, after a meeting with a high-level official delegation from Luxembourg, headed by minister of economy and foreign trade, Jeannot Krecke. Patrick Seil, managing director, Arcelor International, Singapore was also part of the delegation.

Arcelors interest in India stems from a combination of factors- rich iron ore reserves that enable low-cost steel production even as global prices of the raw material are expected to harden in the coming years, a large pool of technical manpower and emergent potential of Indian steel market.

Although the steel major has not made any definite proposal to the Indian side, it is learnt to have shown interest in setting up a plant somewhere in Indias iron ore belt comprising Orissa, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. As for India, the proposal is in keeping with draft steel policy which envisages enhancement of domestic steel capacity from 32 mt at present to 100 mt by 2020. 100% FDI is permitted in the steel sector. The visiting delegation also pitched for Paul Wurth, a leading technology provider to steel industry, in terms of the companys increased exposure to expansion projects of SAIL and Tata Steel. A demand was made for exempting Paul Wurth fromn the tendering process for SAILs proposed Rs 25,000 crore mega expansion plan. Meanwhile, the government has set up an inter-ministerial committee to ensure that Poscos $12.4 billion Orissa project faced no roadblocks.