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Steel tycooon's fortunes start to turn

By Rashmi Kumar

Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and chief executive of steel company ArcelorMittal, will be buoyed by his company’s results, which saw a 67% rise in net profits for the first quarter.

The Luxembourg-based group said on 11 May that its net profits rose to $1.1 billion compared to $640 million for the same period last year. The world’s biggest steelmaker’s sales too rose by around 27% to $22.2 billion.

This is positive news for Mittal who, although ranked the richest person in Britain in the 2011 Sunday Times Rich List, has still seen his fortunes fall by £5 billion. The list estimated his wealth at £17.5 billion, down from £22.5 billion the previous year – a drop that also made him the year’s biggest loser.

But rising demand for steel from North America and a growing market in China have increased global steel consumption, the company said. The group is also expecting further growth to the tune of around 7% during the year, all of which could add to Mittal’s wealth.

ArcelorMittal was founded in 2006 following the merger of Arcelor and Mittal Steel – a deal orchestrated by Mittal’s son Aditya, who is currently the company’s chief financial officer. Daughter Vanisha Mittal is a member of the group’s board.

The Mittal family controls around 41% of the steel giant which had 2010 revenues of $78.03 billion.