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LN Mittal's younger brother has big plans
Kausik Dutta & S Kalyan Ramanathan in Mumbai/New Delhi |
May 14, 2005
'Global' is a favourite word with Pramod K Mittal, chairman and managing director of the Ispat group. He wants to create a global empire of steel.
For this, he prefers to expand across the world through his special purpose vehicle, Global Steel Holdings.
Mittal probably can make such claims, if you go by the growth of his business. His empire grew 15 times since he got into business 15 years ago.
From running a steel mill owned by his father Mohan Lal Mittal to owning steel mills all over the world, including Libya, Bosnia, the Philippines and Nigeria, he has come a long way.
Pramod Mittal is determined to catch up with the world's biggest steel producer -- Mittal Steel, owned by his elder brother L N Mittal -- fast. Mittal, in fact, is expanding with a vengeance.
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Last fortnight, he made two major announcements: Global Steel Holdings is in advanced stages of acquiring a 2.2 million-tonne mill in Bulgaria at a total investment (acquisition combined with further investments and environment management) of $300 million, and has also signed a deal to acquire Turkish steel company Izmir Demir Celik for $78.4 million.
Once these two deals are closed, Mittal will have a global capacity of 15 million tonnes. This will make him the largest Indian steel producer, ahead of public sector enterprise Steel Authority of India, as well as Tata Steel. Mittal Steel is a much bigger entity, but it is based in Europe, and LN Mittal operates from London.
Unlike his elder brother, Pramod took the greenfield route to grow, which involved more risks. He also took great risks in terms of technology. The Ispat Industries plant at Dolvi in Maharashtra uses a very special technology.
"Mittal is not an operations man. His younger brother Vinod Mittal is in charge of operations. Mittal is more of a strategist and thinker," says a former Indian Steel Alliance functionary.
Those who know the Mittals will tell you that both the brothers are very sharp people. Mittal does not carry a laptop or a palmtop but remembers all the numbers while making long presentations to investors.
A commerce graduate from the St Xavier's College, Kolkata, he is easily accessible. He is also known to have a heart of gold.
"Once my brother got stranded at an international airport at midnight. When he called me, I did not know anybody else from whom to seek support. So I rang up Mittal. He not only attended my call at that odd hour, but also sorted out my brother's problems," a former Ispat Industries executive recalled.
Apart from expanding his business across the globe, Mittal is passionate about physical fitness -- he performs yoga for an hour every day. Yoga and business may not be symbiotic, but alacrity is, to both.