London: Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal has no immediate plans to invest in India, where his recent attempts to build steel plants in Jharkhand and Odisha reportedly face local opposition and wrangles over land acquisition, says a media report.
Mittal, who is Britain's richest individual, told The Sunday Times that India remained a priority for him but not for investment.
He said: "India remains a priority but not for investment. I'm not locating capital to India or China as I don’t see things progressing there. We can't remain stuck, so we move on. Now our priority is to reduce debt, we sell non-core assets. But we continue to invest in mining and become self-dependent.”
Asked about his straregy to target India and China for growth, he said: "We’ve not succeeded in both countries".
Mittal’s wealth has reportedly halved since 2008 to 12.7 billion pounds.
Recession and lower demand for steel may force his company ArcelorMittal to close some of its Europe operations, leading to more job losses.
Admitting the likelihood of job losses, he said in the interview: "I have all the sympathies with the people who will be affected by this action. But the positive side is that we will be saving jobs for many times more people."
Politicians in Europe, he said, need to sort out the economy, and added that the second half of the year would be very challenging.
On the lower demand for steel, he said: "If we don’t have the orders, what can we do? We produce what we can sell, and we have to build a sustainable business model."
Mittal, who was one of the torch bearers for the Olympics Torch Relay, has contributed 20 million pounds towards the ArcelorMittal Orbit near the Olympics Stadium.
First Published: Sunday, July 29, 2012, 22:57