Mittal is businessman of the year in Europe
Thursday, 27 January 2005, 08:00 Hrs
LONDON; Lakshmi Mittal - the 54-year old metal man and billionaire takeover tycoon whose steel empire stretches from Kazakhstan to Trinidad - has been named Europe's Businessman of the Year by Fortune magazine. "Mittal is sitting on top of the steel world," says the magazine. "Mittal Steel is also the world's most geographically diverse steel giant, stretching from Central Asia through Africa and Europe to Central and North America." According to Fortune, the immediate issue for the London-based dealmaker is a $4.5-billion takeover of International Steel Group (ISG), a US-based company that had been controlled by investor Wilbur Ross. This, the magazine adds, will make Mittal Steel - "the company created by the deal" - the world's largest producer of the commodity. "This is a major step for the global consolidation of the steel industry," Fortune quotes Mittal as saying. "The ISG deal represents Mittal's great leap forward in his bid to become the Henry Ford of 21st century steel, not only dominating, but transforming how an entire industry operates," adds Fortune writer Richard Tomlinson. "What makes Mittal so unusual in the steel business is his ability to combine managerial savvy with superb acquisitive instincts. Forget about luck, Mittal is the king of global steel because he spotted potential riches where his rivals only saw dross." Last year, Mittal Steel, which has 165,000 employees, shipped 57 million tonnes of steel, to generate revenues of $31.5 billion and profits of $6.8 billion. "That's well ahead of Luxembourg-based Arcelor, the second-largest steel firm, which produced 47.2 million tons in 2003, the latest year for which data are available," the magazine says. "Mittal is convinced that the 21st century steel industry, like the 20th century auto industry, will consolidate around three- four super-efficient heavyweights, with his own group in the vanguard."