Tata Steel’s Corus deal invites all-round praise

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New Delhi — Commerce Minister Kamal Nath Wednesday called the mega-deal struck by the Tatas to acquire Anglo-Dutch steel-maker Corus for some $12 billion as the coming of age of India Inc while industry leaders termed it a pioneering development.

“It’s a reflection of India’s economic strength,” Kamal Nath said. “Indian firms are reaching out for consolidation and market access. This deal suggests more Indian companies will move ahead not just in steel but other areas also.”

The Tatas Wednesday pulled off India’s biggest takeover of an overseas company by winning a pitched battle against a Brazilian rival to buy Corus that would make the combined entity the world’s fifth largest producer of steel.

“The Tata Steel’s successful bid for Corus is a statement of Indian industry’s coming of age and takes mergers and acquisition levels to a different paradigm,” said R. Seshasayee, president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“This is a testimony of the confidence and competence of Indian industry,” he said, adding that India Inc was confident that deals like this would ensure that the international business community gives the respect due to emerging India.

“Tata’s pioneering acquisition of Corus exemplifies the arrival of India Inc in the global arena. The event is path-breaking and displays a level of confidence and values, which places Indian industry at an altogether new level,” said Lt. Gen. S.S. Mehta, director general of the chamber.

“This will prove to be a visionary move,” said Ratan Tata, chairperson of Tata Sons, who had earlier helped his group make two major acquisitions in the steel space over the past two years worth $421 million – those of NatSteel of Singapore in February 2005 and Millennium Steel of Thailand nine months later.

“When we launched the bid, many thought it was an audacious move because an Indian company taking over an European company much larger in size had not happened before.”

Amit Mitra, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), said the deal was indeed “big bang” and signalled the events that will unfold as India emerges the world’s third largest economy.

“We must congratulate Ratan Tata for this feat. He has shown India’s financial muscle power at a global benchmark and also on the tremendous negotiating skills against all odds,” Mitra added.