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Business deals

2-year quest to buy Essar exposes risk of India investment

Tangles with government and in court dragged on as bottom fell out of steel market

India's crude steel production shrank 3.4% on the year in October.   © Reuters

TOKYO/MUMBAI -- Nippon Steel and ArcelorMittal spent nearly two years clearing the way for their 500 billion rupee ($7 billion) purchase of Essar Steel India, leaping legal hurdles in hopes of gaining a foothold in a market that promised growth.

They completed the acquisition in the country that once thwarted Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo's attempt to enter the telecommunications market. Tokyo-based Nippon Steel ultimately cut through the red tape but now faces an Indian steel industry that has slumped.

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