Dunkirk: Looking beyond steel, ArcelorMittal is evaluating opportunities that complement its existing business and asset base, Chairman Lakshmi N Mittal has said.
The world's largest steelmaker has already inked a pact with carbon recycling company LanzaTech and technology provider Primetals Technologies to construct Europe's first-ever commercial scale production facility to create bio-ethanol from waste gases produced during the steel-making process.
"ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel company... But to maintain this we have to work hard and continually ensure we are evaluating the competitive landscape not just in steel but also in other materials and also taking into account the mega-trends that will shape the future of the economy," Mittal told PTI.
This is an era of fast-paced times, the steel tycoon said, adding that in the world of manufacturing, continued impact of digitisation will be seen besides that of artificial intelligence.
"Our customers' demands are continually evolving and we have to stay ahead of that and continually develop our product offering. We are always evaluating opportunities that complement our existing business and asset base," Mittal said.
Citing the example of company's plant at Gent in Belgium, Mittal said, they are implementing "an incredible technology" there that will enable it to turn waste gases into ethanol and then sell that ethanol and potentially plastics as well.
At its Dunkirk site, which is the largest in Europe, the company produced close to 7 million tonnes of steel in 2017, and heat recovered at the sinter plant has been feeding the municipal heating network, benefitting 6,000 homes, hospitals and swimming pools.
Due to this, the company officials said, the city avoids 4,50,000 tonnes of CO2 the equivalent of 50,000 people's yearly CO2 emissions. Plans are afoot there for large production of bio-ethanol, officials said, adding that the blast furnace slag is recovered and recycled there as it is used in cement.
Talking about the diversification plans of the company, Mittal said, "We have also recently invested in a solar panel technology company as this is a growing market for us. We are very excited about the future and we hope that India will be part of that".
At present, ArcelorMittal is in the race to acquire debt-laden Essar Steel, currently undergoing insolvency proceedings as it owes more than Rs 45,000 crore to over 30 banks. The Committee of Creditors (CoC) on May 2 had met representatives of ArcelorMittal and Numetal regarding their eligibility for Essar Steel and a decision is awaited.
Mittal, who has been trying to get a foothold in India for over a decade, has said: "India is important to us. Of course for me personally I would like us to have a presence in my home country...India is a strategic growth market and if you look at steel industry growth then the majority of growth in the coming years is going to come from the developing economies ex China and that includes India".
He has said under present circumstances there is a strong strategic rationale for the company to establish a presence in India. ArcelorMittal has presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 18 countries. It is a leading supplier of steel in major global markets.
In 2017, ArcelorMittal had revenues of USD 68.7 billion and crude steel production of 93.1 MT, while its own iron ore production reached 57.4 MT. It is listed on stock exchanges of New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Luxembourg and Spain.