Moment of fulfilment for India: Ratan Tata

Mumbai, January 31:

After spending several sleepless nights overseeing the biggest ever takeover of an overseas company by an Indian entity, Tata Sons chairperson Ratan Tata said today that the $11.3 billion bid to acquire Corus was a ‘moment of great fulfilment for India’.

“Tata Corus is set to become the fifth largest producer of the commodity in the world,” Ratan Tata said here, looking calm and collected despite hours of tension and excitement over finalisation of the mega-deal.

“This will prove be a visionary move,” Tata said from his group’s headquarters in Mumbai. “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.”

Reacting to the drop in Tata Steel shares by almost nine per cent in the early hours of trading at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) today, the group chairperson said investors had taken a rather ‘harsh’ view of the deal.

“There is no question of overpaying,” he said, referring to the offer of 608 pence a share for Corus, which valued the Anglo-Dutch steel-maker at 6.2 billion pounds or close to $12 billion.

“It was a judgement call, no ego clashes.” Tata had 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.

“The underlying driver for the acquisition has been the growth factor. We would like to grow in different geographies. Legal and regulatory framework allows this today,” he said. “Tata will have a major role in the coming days creating the presence of Indian companies in Europe. Ours will grow and integrate with Tata Steel.

Some of Corus’ members will stay back with us and I look forward to a worthwhile business.”

“We are all very excited, delighted and happy. It’s been a long-drawn affair of nine months. So we really happy,” said group director Arun Gandhi.

“Last three days have been very hard work. It’s still going on.” The auction for the acquisition of Corus began at 4:30 p.m. GMT, after close of trading hours at the London Stock Exchange (LSE), and the winner was announced by Britain’s Takeover Panel, the watchdog for mergers and takeovers, today.

According to Tata Steel managing director B Muthuraman, the successful bid for Corus was

the result of globalisation strategies that the group had been adopting for the past decade.