Arcelor Mittal to retain control of Dofasco

Thursday, 25 January 2007, 06:00 Hrs
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Berlin/Rotterdam: A Dutch court effectively blocked moves by steel giant ThyssenKrupp AG to force the world's biggest steelmaker Arcelor Mittal to sell its Canadian offshoot to the German-based group.

The ruling follows a long-running battle over the future of Canadian-based Dofasco Inc, which emerged in the wake of the hostile 29.5-billion-euro ($38.3 billion) takeover bid launched early last year by Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal's group for rival Arcelor.

The ownership of Dofasco was one of the last outstanding issues to be resolved following the agreement signed last year between Mittal and Arcelor to merge.

As part of a series of complicated moves in the build-up to Mittal's drive to acquire Arcelor, Luxembourg-based Arcelor out-manoeuvred ThyssenKrupp in a race to takeover Dofasco.

Moreover, in its push to block the Mittal takeover, Arcelor later placed Dofasco in a Dutch-based foundation to head off any moves to it being sold. The foundation was granted independent control of Dofasco.

Since the Arcelor Mittal merger, the foundation has refused to disband itself.

But ThyssenKrupp insisted that it had reached a deal with Mittal in the run-up to its merger with Arcelor that it would sell on Dofasco to the German steelmaker if it was successful in acquiring Arcelor.

However, in handing down its decision, the court in Rotterdam argued that Mittal could not force its merger partner Arcelor to hand over the shares to another group.

ThyssenKrupp has already indicated that if it failed in its bid to acquire Dofasco then it planned to invest 2.3 billion euros in a greenfield carbon and stainless steel mill in the US.

Source: IANS
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