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Home > Business > Interviews

The Rediff Interview/Anil Agarwal, Chairman, Vedanta Resources

The secret behind Vedanta's success

April 25, 2007

For Vedanta Resources chairman Anil Agarwal, 52, the acquisition of Sesa Goa is like going back to his roots. The industrialist, who says he is a proud Bihari, now gets an opportunity to do something in Jharkhand, where Sesa Goa has got prospective licensing of iron ore.

In the last two decades, his business has grown from Rs 15 crore (Rs 150 million) to Rs 27,000 crore (Rs 270 billion).

In an exclusive interview, Agarwal tells Kausik Datta that the opportunity to work in Jharkhand was an added attraction for his bid to acquire Japanese company Mitsui & Co's majority stake in Sesa Goa.


What is the secret of your spectacular growth in the past 20 years?

My efforts are to understand India, have faith in India and to show the world the strength of India. Outsiders do not know the potential of the country. They still believe we are from the land of snake charmers and Taj Mahal. It would be audacious on my part to say that I have fully understood the country. But I have realised that you can build a huge organisation out of this country, having your roots here. Also, I believe in empowerment. I am lucky to have wonderful people with me. They are really responsible for the success of the group.

What is your vision for the future?
I want to have one million tonne capacity each in three major areas I operate - copper, zinc and aluminium. We are half-way through our target. And I want Vedanta to be the best mining and metal company in the world in the next three-five years. I would love to see people calling Vedanta as India's CVRD, the Brazilian mining giant.

And how do you plan to achieve it?

We are investing $13 billion (Rs 54,100 crore) for organic and inorganic growth. The investment will be done in three years. Just to remind you, Vedanta is a debt-free organisation. Over the past years, we have funded all our projects from own resources. This tradition will continue.

This is for the third time you have outbid the Aditya Birla group, the first two being Balco and Hindusthan Zinc. How do you explain it?

There is nothing to read between the lines. The corporate rivalry in India is pass�. I believe there is enough water in the sea for every fish.

What is your plan with India Foils, the ailing aluminium foils maker. Do you intend to pull out of it?

India Foils' contribution to the group is small. We are trying to put the company back on the rails. However, we are open to the idea of divesting our interest in the company, if we get proper valuation.

How much will you invest in Sesa Goa in the immediate future?

We have not applied our mind on the future investment in the company. However, all I can say is that finance will not be a constraint for the growth of the company. This is among the lowest iron ore producers in the world. I am sure, the company will further prosper under the Vedanta realm.

 Vedanta to pay $1.37 bn for Sesa Goa stake

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