How ArcelorMittal milks Europe for tonnes of money

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ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer whose chairman and CEO is London-based Indian tycoon Lakshmi Mittal (pictured), pays hardly any taxes in Europe. Making the most of the tax-break competition between European Union countries, the group juggles transfer pricing and optimal fiscal gains for its financial flow. But behind what may appear to be a common sense business approach that makes the most of what’s on offer lies a secretive organisation that prevents any proper scrutiny of the real economic performance of ArcelorMittal’s plants or subsidiary companies. In this first of a two-part investigation, Martine Orange traces the steel giant's history and lifts the veil on its hidden practices.

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At ArcelorMittal’s quarterly results meeting on May 10th, Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of the steel conglomerate, caused some surprise when he argued that Europe needed to introduce protectionist measures. Mittal, known as an advocate of unfettered free trade and globalisation, sounded curiously like his arch-enemy Arnaud Montebourg, the socialist industry minister (Minister for Industrial Renewal) whom Mittal had called an economic dinosaur just a few months earlier.