Lakshmi Narayan Mittal

Lakshmi Narayan Mittal

Mittal, Lakshmi Narayan, 1950-, Indian steel tycoon. He worked at his father's small Kolkata (Calcutta) steel mill before he bought (1976) a mill in Indonesia and began to build his steel empire. He achieved success by buying unprofitable and unwanted mills around the world, dispatching management teams to reorganize them, and integrating them into an efficient, competitive global conglomerate. With his company's 2006 takeover of Luxembourg-based Arcelor, then Europe's largest steel company, Mittal creatied ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel producer. The London-based magnate is now ranked among the world's wealthiest individuals.

Lakshmi Mittal (or Lakshmi Narayan Mittal, लक्ष्मि नारायण मित्तल, born 15 June 1950) is a London-based Indian billionaire industrialist, born in Sadulpur village, in the Churu district of Rajasthan, India, and resides in Kensington, London.

Personal wealth

In March 2008, Mittal was reported to be the 4th wealthiest person in the world, and the wealthiest in Asia, by Forbes Magazine (up from 61st. richest in 2004) up one place since a year ago. The Mittal family owns a controlling majority stake in ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel company.

His residence at Kensington Palace Gardens was bought from Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone in 2004 for £57 million (US$128 million), making it the world's most expensive house, at that date.

Kensington Gardens, currently owned by financier Noam Gottesman. The Guardian newspaper reported that the purchase price would be £127 million, which would set a record for the most expensive house ever sold in Britain. The paper noted that the house on "Billionaire's Boulevard" was expected to be the home of Mittal's son. Mittal's house in Kensington, London is decorated with marble taken from the same quarry that supplied the Taj Mahal. The extravagant show of wealth has been deemed the "Taj Mittal". The Financial Times named Lakshmi Mittal its 2006 Person of the Year. In May 2007, he was named one of the "100 Most Influential People" by Time magazine.

Biography

Early years: Born in a Rajasthan Agrawal family, Lakshmi spent his initial years in India, living with his extended family on bare floors and rope beds in a house built by his grandfather. His family was from humble roots; his grandfather worked for the Tarachand Ghanshyamdas Poddar firm, one of the leading industrial firms of pre-independence India. His father started a steel Mill in Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh, and nearly 80% of the Mill's production used to be sold through the firm owned by Lala Gulab Chand. They eventually moved to Calcutta where his father, Mohan, became a partner in a steel company and made a fortune.

He graduated from St. Xavier's College in Calcutta (now known as Kolkata) with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business and Accounting in 1969 .

Career

Lakshmi Mittal began his career working in the family's steelmaking business in India, and in 1976, when the family founded its own steel business, Mittal set out to establish its international division, beginning with the buying of a run-down plant in Indonesia. Shortly afterwards he married Usha, the daughter of a well-to-do moneylender. In 1994, due to differences with his father,mother and brothers, he branched out on his own, taking over the international operations of the Mittal steel business, which was already owned by the family. Mittal's family never spoke publicly about the reasons for the split.

The Mittal Affair: "Cash for Influence"



Controversy erupted in 2002 as Plaid MP Adam Price exposed the link between UK prime minister Tony Blair and Mittal in the Mittal Affair, also known as 'Garbagegate' or Cash for Influence. Mittal's LNM steel company, registered in the Dutch Antilles and maintaining less than 1% of its 100,000 plus workforce in the UK, sought Blair's aid in its bid to purchase Romania's state steel industry. The letter from Blair to the Romanian government, a copy of which Price was able to obtain, hinted that the privatisation of the firm and sale to Mittal might help smooth the way for Romania's entry into the European Union.

The letter had a passage in it removed just prior to Blair's signing of it, describing Mittal as "a friend.

In exchange for Blair's support Mittal, already a Labour contributor, donated £125,000 more to Labour party funds a week after the 2001 UK General Elections, while as many as six-thousand Welsh steelworkers were laid off that same year, Price and others pointed out. As well as this, Mittal is a non resident Indian residing in the United Kingdom for over 14 years. Because of this, he has been included on many unofficial Wealth-indicative lists as the richest man in the United Kingdom, when in actuality, the List held by the UK and Channel Island Treasury Authority lists no mention of name "Lakshmi(or derivatives) Mittal." Corus Group and Valkia Limited were two of the primary employers in south Wales, particularly in Ebbw Vale, Llanwern, and Port Talbot..

Queens Park Rangers

Recently, Mittal had emerged as a leading contender to buy Barclays Premiership clubs Wigan and Everton. However on 20 December 2007 it was announced that the Mittal family had purchased a 20 per cent shareholding in Queens Park Rangers football club joining Flavio Briatore and Mittal's friend Bernie Ecclestone. As part of the investment Mittal's son-in-law, Amit Bhatia, took a place on the board of directors. The combined investment in the struggling club sparked suggestions that Mittal might be looking to join the growing ranks of wealthy individuals investing heavily in English football and emulating other similar benefactors such as Roman Abramovich.

Charity

After witnessing India win only one medal, bronze, in the 2000 Summer Olympics, and one medal, silver, at the 2004 Summer Olympics, Mittal decided to set up Mittal Champions Trust with US$9 million to support 10 Indian athletes with world-beating potential..In 2008 Mittal awarded Abhinav Bindra with Rs. 1.5 Crore, for getting India its first individual Olympic gold medal in shooting.

For Comic Relief 2007, he matched the money raised (~£1 million) on the celebrity special BBC programme, The Apprentice.

Criticism and allegations

Slave-labour allegations

Employees of Mittal have accused him of "slave labour" conditions after multiple fatalities in his mines. During December 2004, twenty-three miners died in explosions in his mines in Kazakhstan caused by faulty gas detectors.

Controversial self-bonus

Lakshmi Mittal paid himself a bonus totalling GB£1.1bn out of company funds in 2004 after a takeover of a US-based steelmaker, ISG.

Environmental harm for self-gain

Subsequent environmental issues at the site have been a cause for criticism. The Government tried to sue in the High Court to have him pay for the clean-up of Cork Harbour but failed.

Others

Cash-for-influence or Mittal affair mentioned above.

Awards

  • 2008: Padma Vibhushan
  • 2007: Bessemer Gold Medal
  • 2006: Person of the Year - Financial Times
  • 2004: European Businessman of the Year - Fortune magazine
  • 1998: Willy Korf Steel Vision Award - American Metal Market and PaineWeber’s World Steel Dynamics
  • 1996: Steelmaker of the Year - New Steel

See also

References

External links

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