International Business Management

FACULTY OF BUSINESS & ACCOUNTANCY

Program: Bachelor (Hons.) in Business Administration
Course: International Business Management
Course Code
Year/ Semester
Assessment
: BBA 2543
: III Year /V Semester
: Case Study
Weightage: 20 Marks
Date: 10thMay 2020–Sunday

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Study the following case carefully and answer the questions asked at the end.
Lakshmi Mittal and the Growth of Mittal Steel
In 2007 a controversial merger between Mittal Steel and Arcelor closed, creating Arcelor Mittal.
The merger was the brain child of Mittal CEO, Lakshmi Mittal and his son, Aditya. Under
Lakshmi’s leadership, the family-owned Mittal Steel had grown from obscure origins in India to
become the largest steel company in the world. The story dates back to the early 1970s. At that
time, the family-owned company was facing limited growth opportunities in India. Regulations
constrained expansion opportunities, and Mittal was facing competition both from a state-owned
rival, SAIL, and a private national champion, Tata Steel. So Lakshmi’s farther financed his son,
helping him to set up a steel-making plant from scratch in Indonesia in 1975.
To reduce costs in his Indonesian plant, Lakshmi did not smelt iron ore, but instead directly
purchased reduced iron pellets. His supplier of these pellets was a struggling state-owned steel
firm in Trinidad. Impressed by Lakshmi’s success in Indonesia, in 1975 the Trinidadians asked
him to turn their firm around under a contract. Mittal set up another company to run the Trinidad
plant. In 1989, after a successful turnaround, Mittal purchased the Trinidadian plant in its
entirety.
Now the company that had been born in India had two major foreign operations, but that was just
the beginning. The global steel industry had been in a slump for a quarter of a century due to
excess capacity and slow demand growth as substitute materials replaced steel in a number of
applications, but Lakshmi saw opportunity in purchasing the assets of distressed companies on
the cheap. His belief was that the global steel industry was about to turn a corner, driven in large
part not only by sustained economic growth in developed nations, but also by growing demand in
newly industrializing nations including China and his own native India. He saw all sorts of
opportunities for buying poorly run companies as they came up for sale, injecting them with
capital, improving their efficiency by getting them to adopt modern production technology, and
taking advantage of the coming boom in steel demand. He also saw the opportunity to use the
purchasing power of a global steel company to drive down the price it would have to pay for raw
material inputs.
In 1992 Lakshmi made his next move, buying Sibalsa of Mexico, a state-owned steel company
that was being privatized. This was followed in 1994 by the purchase of the fourth-largest
Canadian steel maker from the government of Quebec. Then in 1995 there was the purchase of a
midsized German steel maker and Kazakhstan’s largest steel maker, which was at the time in
disarray as the country transitioned from a socialist system to a more market-based economy. By
this time, Lakshmi was hungry for more international growth, but his company was capital
constrained. So he decided to take it public, but not in his native India or Indonesia, where the
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liquidity of the capital markets was limited. Instead, in 1997 he moved the company’s
headquarters to Rotterdam, and then offered stock in Mittal Steel for sale to the public through
both the Amsterdam and New York stock exchanges, raising $776 million in the process. With
capital from the IPO, Mittal purchased two more German steel makers in 1997. This was
followed in 1998 by the acquisition of Inland Steel Company, a U.S. steel maker. Over the next
few years, more acquisitions followed in France, Algeria, and Poland among other nations. In
2005, Mittal purchased International Steel, a company formed from the integration of troubled
U.S. steel makers that had been in bankruptcy. By this time Lakshmi’s prediction had come true;
global demand for steel was booming again for the first time in a generation, driven in large part
by demand in China, and steel prices were hitting record highs. The industry’s rebound prompted
Mittal, now the world’s largest steel maker, to offer $32 billion in a hostile takeover bid for
Arcelor, a European firm formed from the merger of steel makers from Luxembourg, France,
and Spain. The acquisition was bitterly contested, with the management of Arcelor and no small
number of European politicians opposing the acquisition of a European company by an Indian
enterprise (although ironically, Mittal Steel was now legally a Dutch company). Arcelor’s
shareholders, however, saw value in the deal, and ultimately approved it in late 2006. In 2007 the
new firm, now headquartered in Luxembourg, generated sales of$110 billion and net income of
$10.2 billion, making it by far the world’s largest steel company.
Questions
1. What forces drove Mittal Steel to start expanding across national borders?
2. Mittal Steel expanded into different nations through mergers and acquisitions, as opposed to
Greenfield investments. Why?
3. What benefits does Mittal Steel bring to the countries that it enters? Are there any
drawbacks to a nation when Mittal Steel invests there?
4. What are the benefits to Mittal Steel from entering different nations? Give your view on the
prospect of socio cultural differences.
5. What impact do you believe the exchange rate had played in Mittal’s expansion decision?
Also give your views on how would international monetary system had impacted Mittal’s
expansion strategy.

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