Lakshmi Narayan Mittal: Casting New Moulds of Success

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Lakshmi Narayan Mittal was born in 1950 in the small town of Sadalpur, Rajasthan, in India to a Marwari family and was deprived even of some of the basic amenities like water and electricity.

During the 1960s, his father, Mohan Lal Mittal, moved on to Calcutta in the state of West Bengal where he operated a steel plant. Mittal worked with his father in the mill while pursuing his education from the St. Xavier’s College. Upon completing in graduation in the year 1970, he worked as a trainee in the steel plant while learning the ins and outs of the business.

Once he was confident enough that he could make the plant run without any help, he opened a steel mill of his own in Indonesia. He spent the next ten years of his life to refine his skills at the mill and make it more efficient. In the year 1989, he wanted to buy a firm that was owned by the government in Trinidad and Tobago. The firm was already making a loss of about $1 million a day and even many experts in the field including US consultants and experts from Germany had turned away from the firm as they failed to find any solution.

But Mittal went on to buy the firm and, to the surprise of many, he turned his purchase into a profitable business. This fuelled his quest to make similar moves and acquire similar firms all over the world turning every purchase into a successful company with his strategies. He had made so many acquisitions that the catalogue containing the list would become a lengthy one. However, few of the many noteworthy acquisitions include:

Sircasta – Mittal acquired this third largest producer of steel in Mexico in 1992.

Blast Furnace Steel Plant in Kazakhstan – Mittal acquired this plant in former Soviet Republic in 1995.

In the same year, he went on to buy a steel plant in Germany and also formed two new companies named Ispat International Ltd and Ispat Shipping to assist the group.

In 2006, Mittal Steel acquired the European Steel giant Arcelor for $33 billion and became the world’s largest steel entity with a capacity of more than 100 million tones. The merged company was called Arcelor Mittal and the Mittal family holds 43.6 percent share of the company.

Mittal Steel was later formed by merging Ispat International and LNM Holdings. Ispat International also merged with Ohio-based International Steel Group (ISG) in the same year.  ISG was at the time the biggest steel producer in the world with a $22 billion net worth.

Mittal is married to Usha Mittal who takes care of his Indonesian business. They have two children, Aditya Mittal and Vanisha and both are directors of the Mittal Steel’s Board. Lakshmi Narayan Mittal is known by all as a man who spends extravagantly on his family. His daughter’s marriage in June 2004 cost Mittal more than $60 million and was a five day event held in Paris.

Today, Lakshmi Narayan Mittal is the 4th richest person in the world. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2007 by the Indian President. According to Forbe’s, his personal wealth is about $45 billion. The Financial Times named him its Person of the Year for 2006 and in 2007 the TIME magazine quoted him as one of the most influential people in the world. He was also the European businessman of the year according to Forbes. Since 2005, Mittal is the richest person living in the UK.