Mittal optimistic on getting stake in Chinese steel co

London, Mar 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2007, 07:11am hrs
NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal is optimistic that Beijing will eventually approve a plan to allow him to take a majority stake in a China-based steel supplier.

The comments by the Indian steel billionaire, chief executive and main owner of Arcelor Mittal, the worlds biggest steel company, are the strongest sign yet of his wish to become a big force in the worlds biggest steel-consuming country.

Mittal told The Financial Times that he has been talking to Beijing government officials for some time about a project based around uniting minority stakes that Arcelor Mittal was poised to take in two Chinese steelmakers Hunan Valin and Laiwu and then taking a majority control of the business.

Mittal has his sights on controlling about 50 million tonne of steel output in China within about five years, a goal, if attained, would make his company almost certainly one of the largest steel suppliers in China.

We would like to be long-term player in China and an actor in this consolidation (in the Chinese steel industry).

I am optimistic that eventually we will be permitted to play a part but (getting government approval for consolidation) is a prolonged process and you have to be patient.

We have to be able to demonstrate that we can bring value to the Chinese producers.

According to him, steel prices would remain stable this year.