Multilingual Business Communication

April 7, 2009

ArcelorMittal: when two giants merge

Filed under: crisis communication, employee communication, Hannelore Blomme, internship — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 2:53 pm

401-1-3-arcelormittal_logo1In 2007, Mittal Steel, a leading Indian steel company, offered to buy Arcelor, a European steel producer, for no less than 26.8 billion euros. Arcelor agreed, and a few months later, ArcelorMittal was born.

Mittal Steel had tried to buy Arcelor in January that year already, but at that point, Arcelor had rejected the offer: they didn’t like the idea of an indian management and feared that the indian steel was inferior to theirs. Later that year, Mittal doubled its offer, and Arcelor had to agree for fear of a shareholder’s revolt. The combined company is world the leading steel production company, with a capacity of more than three times that of its main rival, the Japanese Nippon Steel.

This merger didn’t only change the global steel production landscape thoroughly, it is also a highly interesting case of a merger where two entirely different corporate cultures had to blend into one. A whole new brand identity was created, with a new logo, a new motto (“transforming tomorrow”), new values and a new mission. But how was this communicated towards employees? Mainly with the help of a website, http://www.arcelormittal.tv/. Employees from all over the world on all hierarchic levels could go there, watch videos about the progress in the merger process, and write comments on a blog. Moreover, they could ask questions directly to the new CEO, mr. Laksmi Mittal.

In my opinion, this is a very interesting case of internal communication in times of change. The merger was a huge risk, but it turned out to be successful, and I think this is mainly owing to the well considered communication policy. If you ask me, many companies can learn from it!

Source: The New York Times

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