India eyes Asian steel mills for JV with SAIL on ArcelorMittal deal delay

India is in talks with Japanese and South Korean mills for a joint venture with state-run Steel Authority of India Ltd. as years of delays hold up a deal with the world’s biggest steelmaker ArcelorMittal.

The steel ministry is in talks with mills including Nippon Steel Corp., Mitsubishi Steel Manufacturing Co. and Posco for a joint venture, according to the Indian mill’s Chairman Anil Kumar Chaudhary. That follows delays in discussions with Arcelor, whose plans to enter the growing India steel market by buying the bankrupt Essar Steel India Ltd along with partner Nippon have been held up by court battles.

“When we talk to them they are open but then they are too busy in the process of acquiring Essar,” Chaudhary told reporters in New Delhi, adding that he is still waiting for a reply to a letter written to Arcelor in February. The pact with Arcelor is still valid and a partnership with others won’t affect this venture, he said.

SAIL had approved a plan to build an automotive steel plant in India with Arcelor in 2017, but the proposed venture has been plagued by delays as both mills finetune terms of the deal.

The ministry is keen to stitch together ventures with foreign mills to make automotive steel as India is a big importer of high grade steel. Higher output of these products will also aid several Japanese and South Korean automobile companies that manufacture in India.

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