Orissa is now a new destination for Lakshmi Niwas Mittal for his next investment. The steel baron, who achieved a new high by successfully taking over Arcelor recently, is slated to visit the state on Friday with a possible investment plan.
Although the state government is yet to receive any concrete proposal from the world’s biggest steelmaker, the visit is expected to bring good tidings for the state, officials said.According to the chief minister’s office, chairman of Mittal Steel will meet CM Naveen Patnaik at the state secretariat to discuss possible investments in Orissa during his two-hour-long stay here. Before signing the Arcelor deal, Mittal had said he was planning to expand base in India and China.Mittal had signed an MoU with the Jharkhand government for a 10-MTPA greenfield steel unit last year, but the project is reportedly facing stiff resistance. He may go for a similar MoU with the Orissa government as a back-up plan, officials said.
In fact, the possibility of Mittal setting up a steel facility in Orissa has been in the air for two years now. According to the officials, the arrival of South Korean company Posco in the state could have made Mittal Steel put its plans on hold.Sources said Mittal has not indicated any details of the investment proposed in the state. “It is essentially exploratory at the moment. We will make a presentation on the benefits that the state offers and would like to hear what he has in mind. Once the basic interaction is over and we know what is on his mind, we can discuss the specifics,” an official said.
While an e-mail to Mittal Steel spokesperson in London went unanswered, the visit to Orissa could have been prompted by the world’s largest steel company’s inability to grab a share of iron ore in the highly lucrative Chiria mines in Jharkhand.It is also possible that Mittal is exploring the possibility of setting up a second facility in India, a market he has not entered so far despite having a global footprint.
Officials said Orissa can make available captive mines for a 5 MT steel plant in the state.