Riddle of the sands: ArcelorMittal financial mysteries hidden in Dubai


In a previous article, Mediapart described how steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal built his conglomerate on the ruins of Eastern and Western Europe’s restructuring steel industries, taking loans and subsidies but paying hardly any tax on the continent. In the second and concluding article of her investigation Martine Orange reports on how ArcelorMittal has based its financial branch in the desert of Dubai, reveals the curious network of tax-haven companies through which the Mittal family controls the operation, and wonders just why the group's results in Europe were so bad even during the good years for steel makers.

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In late 2012, when ArcelorMittal trade unions were still trying to find a buyer for Florange, the plant in eastern France that the steel conglomerate finally closed in April, they were discreetly given a sheet of paper that detailed how the fortunes of the group's flagship European flat steel business had dramatically reversed under Mittal's ownership (1). It was unsigned, but probably came from a manager who was conversant with how the company operates and unhappy with what he was witnessing.