Look at India as well, PM tells steel majors
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Look at India as well, PM tells steel majors

Monday, 26 March 2007, 05:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: Complimenting Indian steel firms for their successful foray in global markets, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked them to also look at the huge opportunities available back home.

"While I commend our business leaders for their global vision and reach, I urge them to pay equal attention to market opportunities at home," the prime minister told a global steel summit here.

"I want Mittals and Tatas and all others who are eyeing global opportunities to also invest more at home. India is a land of opportunity. Don't miss this moment," he told the seminar co-organised by the ministry of steel and mines and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

London-based L.N. Mittal had acquired controlling stake in European steel maker Arcelor last year, while the Tata group had this year taken a stake in Anglo-Dutch Corus in January in multi-billion deals.

This apart, several Indian steel firms were looking at acquiring manufacturing facilities and captive iron ore mines overseas to consolidate their position in the global steel space.

The two-day event is being attended by Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Tata Steel managing director B. Muthuraman, Boston Consulting Group's Martin Wortler, McKinsey Belgium's Frederic Geurts, Jindal Steel's Naveen Jindal and Essar group's Prashant Ruia among others.

According to the prime minister, it was a sign of growing self-confidence of the Indian steel industry that it was enlarging its global reach and presence to acquire mines and assets aboard.

But with an average per capita consumption of a mere 39 kilograms in India, as against 150 kilograms globally, India had a huge potential, particularly in the light of growing demand.

"Our manufacturing costs are internationally competitive. The increasing number of global steel majors who have announced plans to set up units in India gives a fair indication of comparative advantages of manufacturing in India," he said.

Manmohan Singh said in the past years, production and consumption of steel had grown at rates exceeding 9 percent and the pace had accelerated to over 10 percent in the current fiscal with similar projections for the next five years.

"We should expect to see a massive increase in investments in infrastructure. Consequently, there is bound to be a massive growth in demand for steel in the next few decades - perhaps to levels never visualized before."

The prime minister said India's ranking in global steel production had risen from ninth to seventh in the past few years and said projections indicated a doubling of capacity to 80 million tonnes by 2012.

"If we have to meet this demand efficiently and at reasonable cost, the steel industry must modernize. The only way to stay consistently profitable is to ensure the Indian steel industry is benchmarked with most globally competitive producers."
Source: IANS
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