Mittal, India and Europe

International Herald Tribune has an interesting article on Lakshmi Mittal’s bid to buy Arcelor and the subtle underplay that is resulting from it about India’s emergence as a global power:

… the Mittal bid may give rise to a new image of India, and of emerging markets more generally, as a profound and sophisticated threat. European concerns partly reflect the unknowns of how Mittal Steel will apply its low-cost model to Arcelor’s plants. Steel industry analysts say that Mittal Steel is far leaner than Arcelor and is likely to trim, but Mittal has denied that there will be any plant closings or layoffs.

Europe is also wary of the ascendancy of business models invented outside the West – whose inventors claim that they can operate Western companies better than Westerners do. In interviews, several India-based expatriate workers for European multinationals all argued that it was this deeper, high-end threat that worried Europe.

“This threat is stronger than the threat of” outsourcing, said Antoine Zenone, a vice president at the French cement maker Lafarge and the company’s lone French expatriate in India. “We’re no longer talking about keeping companies within the borders, but rather about preventing companies from coming in.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.