He may live and work in London and his company may be based in Luxemburg and have operations around the world, but Lakshmi Mittal is an all-Indian hero. Of all the country's big industrialists it is Mittal, now the world's fifth richest man, who has changed the perception of Indian manufacturers from pools of cheap labor to world beating competitors. His 2006 purchase of European steel giant Arcelor may have ruffled some feathers in Europe Arcelor then-CEO Guy Dollé's comment that "they make eau de Cologne, we make perfume" was one of the milder xenophobic offerings but that only served to underscore the fact that India had arrived. After Mittal opened the door, a rush of takeovers by Indian companies followed, including competitor Tata Steel's $8.1 billion purchase of Corus last October, the largest Indian takeover yet of a foreign company.
By Simon Robinson