Nov 24, 2007

BILLIONAIRE SUCCESS STORY : Lakshmi Mittal - Arcelor Mittal

Born: June 15, 1950, Sadulpur, Rajasthan, India.
Age: 58
Country Of Citizenship: India
Residence: London , United Kingdom, Europe & Russia
Religious stance: Hinduism
Occupation: Chairman & CEO of Arcelor Mittal
Net worth: $51.0 billion USD
Fortune: Inherited and growing
Source: Steel
Industry: Manufacturing
Marital Status: Married, 2 children
Education: St Xavier's College Calcutta, Bachelor of Arts / Science.

Lakshmi Narayan Mittal (born June 15, 1950) is a London-based Indian billionaire industrialist, born in Sadulpur Village, in the Churu district of Rajasthan, India, and residing in Kensington, London. He is the fifth richest person in the world, with a personal fortune of US$32.0 billion according to Forbes 500.The Financial Times named Mittal its 2006 Person of the Year. In May 2007, he was named one of the "100 most influential people" by Time magazine.

Lakshmi spent his first years in India, living with his extended family on bare floors and rope beds in a house built by his grandfather. His family, from the Marwari Aggarwal castel, was from humble roots; his grandfather worked for the Tarachand Ghanshyamdas Poddar firm, one of the leading Marwari industrial firms of pre-independence India. They eventually moved to Calcutta where his father, Mohan, became a partner in a steel company and made a fortune.
Lakshmi was a keen student and his classmates knew him as a sharp student who was good with numbers. He graduated at the top from St. Xavier's College in Calcutta (Now known as Kolkata) with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business and Accounting in 1969.

Lakshmi Mittal began his career working in the family's steelmaking business in India, and in 1976, when the family founded its own steel business, Mittal set out to establish its international division, beginning with the buying of a run-down plant in Indonesia. Shortly afterwards he married Usha, the daughter of a well-to-do moneylender. In 1994, due to differences with his father and brothers, he branched out on his own, taking over the international operations of the Mittal steel business, which was already owned by the family. The family of Mittal never spoke to the public about the reasons for the split, although, there were rumors it was due to financial instablity between the brothers.

Controversy erupted in 2002 as Plaid MP Adam Price exposed the link between U.K. prime minister Tony Blair and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal in the Mittal Affair, also known as 'Garbagegate' or Cash for Influence. Mittal's LNM steel company, registered in the Dutch Antilles and maintaining less than 1% of its 100,000 plus workforce in the U.K., sought Blair's aid in its bid to purchase Romania's state steel industry. The letter from Blair to the Romanian government, a copy of which Price was able to obtain, hinted that the privatisation of the firm and sale to Mittal might help smooth the way for Romania's entry into the European Union.
The letter had a passage in it removed just prior to Blair's signing of it, describing Mittal as "a friend."

In exchange for Blair's support Mittal, already a Labour contributor, donated £125,000 more to Labour party funds a week after the 2001 U.K. General Elections, while as many as six-thousand Welsh steelworkers were laid off that same year, Price and others pointed out. Mittal's company, then the fourth largest in the world, was a "major global competitor of Britain's own struggling steel industry, Corus, formerly known as British Steel." Corus and Valkia Limited were two of the primary employers in south Wales, particularly in Ebbw Vale, Llanwern, and Port Talbot.

Since 2005, Mittal has been the richest person residing in the United Kingdom. He is the President of the Board of Directors and CEO of Arcelor Mittal; Arcelor Mittal is the world's largest producer of steel, with assets in France, Belgium, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, South Africa, Poland, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Bulgaria, United States and Brazil. On July 13, 2005 it was announced that he had donated £2 million to the Labour Party, and on January 16, 2007 it was announced that he had donated a further £3 million. Although Mittal has been living abroad for many years, he claims he will remain an Indian.

In March 2007, Mittal was reported to be the 5th wealthiest person in the world by Forbes Magazine (up from 61st richest in 2004). The Mittal family owns 44% of Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steel company. His residence at 18-19 Kensington Palace Gardens was bought from Formula One car racing boss Bernie Ecclestone in 2004 for £57.1 million ($105.7 million), the world's highest price ever paid for a house. Formerly, this house was the residence of Paul Reuter, the founder of the Reuters news service.

Mittal has two children. His son, Aditya Mittal, is the CFO of Arcelor Mittal. Mittal paid over £30 million to host his daughter Vanisha's wedding celebration in Vaux le Vicomte on 22 June 2004 and an engagement ceremony at the Palace of Versailles on 20 June 2004, the world's most expensive wedding ever. He even hosted a Bollywood night where superstars like Rani Mukerji, Saif Ali Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai performed. Kylie Minogue also sang on stage.

Mittal's house in Kensington, London is decorated with marble taken from the same quarry that supplied the Taj Mahal. The extravagant show of wealth has been deemed the "Taj Mittal."
Recently, Mittal has emerged as a leading contender to buy Barclays Premiership clubs Wigan and Everton, but has so far refused to comment.

As of 8th October 2007, the 44.79% stake which the Mittal family have in Arcelor-Mittal was worth $47.159 billion dollars, down from $48.4 billion in late September. This makes him the world's 5th wealthiest man after Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim and Ingvar Kamprad. As of 11th October 2007, his stake was worth $50.56 billion dollars, making him the fifth person in the world to have more than $50 b wealth.

After witnessing India win only one medal, bronze, in the 2000 Olympics, and one medal, silver, at the 2004 Olympics, Mittal decided to set up Mittal Champions Trust with U$9 million to support 10 Indian athletes with world-beating potential.
For Comic Relief 2007, he matched the money raised (~£1 million) on the celebrity special BBC programme, The Apprentice.

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