ArcelorMittal eyes new sites for steel plants

Written by fe Bureaus | Mumbai | Updated: Oct 29 2009, 09:15am hrs
The worlds largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, which registered a net profit of $ 903 million after posting losses for three consecutive quarters, said on Wednesday that it is looking at alternative sites in Orissa and Jharkhand for its steel projects.

Lakshmi N Mittal, chairman and CEO, ArcelorMittal, during a conference call to announce the companys third quarter results, said, We being a global company, would not limit ourselves from exploring options in other states. However, as of now, we are focusing only on Orissa and Jharkhand.

When asked whether the company will look at other states like Karnataka and if talks were held with the state government, Mittal replied, I wouldnt know as the companys officials in India would be dealing with it.

ArcelorMittal is disappointed with the progress made so far on its proposed plants with a capacity of 12-million tonne per annum each in Orissa and Jharkhand. In fact, it has not even been able to procure land in the two states yet. Mittal said the company is targeting growth projects in emerging markets and will reinitiate the projects it had kept on hold during the downturn, the Indian project being one of them.

Last month, ArcelorMittal entered into a share purchase pact with the Miglani family, promoters of Uttam Galva. ArcelorMittal will acquire 5.6% shares of Uttam Galva. Mittal said, Uttam Galva is a good beginning for us in India. However, it is only a part of our strategy in India.

The companys net profit of $903 million is 76% lower than the $ 3.8 billion it posted in the same period during the previous year. The company posted a loss of $792 million in the previous quarter. According to Mittal, the companys cost reduction exercise and recovery in the steel industry helped it post profits. ArcelorMittal saved about $8 billion during the January-September period.

As anticipated, we have seen the first signs of recovery in the third quarter. In response to this increased demand, a number of our facilities have now been re-started and we expect fourth quarter crude steel capacity utilisation to be approximately 70%. We should continue to see further improvement through 2010, although the operating environment remains challenging, Mittal added.