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Shareholders nod Arcelor-Mittal merger
June 30, 2006 18:51 IST
Last Updated: June 30, 2006 19:01 IST
Paving the way for a merger between Arcelor and Mittal Steel, an overwhelming majority of shareholders of the Luxembourg-based firm on Friday voted down a merger proposal from Russia's Severstal.
About 58 per cent of Arcelor shareholders voted against the Severstal offer.
In the process, they accepted Mittal Steel's $32.3 billion offer, which was approved by the Board of Arcelor on June 25 after a five-month long battle.
Arcelor had recommended acceptance of share and cash from Mittal Steel valuing at about $32.3 billion, which would create a group with 3,20,000 employees producing about 116.0 million tonnes of steel annually, accounting for about ten per cent of the world market.
Arcelor chairman Joseph Kinsch told shareholders that the long fight with Mittal was worth it, saying the India-born steel tycoon L N Mittal and the markets had finally recognised Arcelor's "true value."
The Board of Arcelor had called on shareholders to vote against Severstal, saying it believed the Mittal deal, which it had originally described as unfriendly and hostile, was better and set a benchmark for the steel industry.
"We have created in five months more than euro12 billion in value," Kinsch said.
"The battle was long and hard," he said. "This defense allowed us to come out with the best solution for the group and the most value for shareholders."
Meanwhile, Severstal chairman Alexei Mordashov has said his company was examining all its options in relation to Arcelor, which had announced a merger with the Russian company on May 26 to ward off the bid from Mittal.
Kinsch, however, rejected suggestions that the Severstal deal was a tactic to block Mittal's offer and force the stakes higher, claiming the board had only been able to change its mind about Mittal after it discussed the detailed business plan early this month.