London: India does not figure among ArcelorMittal's top investment priorities as its $30 billion steel projects face long delays, Chairman L N Mittal said on Thursday. However, the country from where UK-based billionaire comes from remains a priority for the world's largest steel producer.
"India is always in our top of the list in terms of priority because we see so much of potential and growth and we see the future requirements of steel in the country... but it is not in the top investment list," he said in a conference call, after announcing quarterly results of the ArcelorMittal in Luxembourg.
In the face of global demand depression, ArcelorMittal's net income has plunged to $11 million in the first quarter of 2012, compared to $1.069 billion of the same period in 2011.
In India, the company has been trying to get regulatory clearances and land for its $30 billion plans for the six years.
"Our progress in India is slow and we are still in the stage of getting all the approvals... I don't see that for next few years, we will see substantial progress in India," he said.
ArcelorMittal's plans of having two steel plants of 12 million tonnes each in Jharkhand and Odisha have moved at a snail's pace since the projects were announced in 2006. Only the Karnataka project of six million tones capacity, which was unveiled later, has made some progress in terms of land acquisition.
Mittal said, "I understand the problems in all the processes and approvals, environment approvals, land acquisition, infrastructure but we have to accelerate this process of approvals, so that projects can really kick off all the approvals should be in place for all large investments which can be committed for the country."
Asked about steel demand in India, he said,"Infrastructure projects are slow and demand is less than the GDP growth, which is very unusual for an emerging country."