France opposes Mittals Arcelor bid, says Loos

Feb 1 | Updated: Feb 2 2006, 05:30am hrs
France opposes Mittal Steel Cos 18.6 billion-euro ($22.7 billion) bid for Arcelor SA, industry minister francois Loos said in Parliament today in the first categorical statement by the government against the offer.

We have an industrial policy, Mr Loos said. We are opposed to this Mittal takeover.

Prime minister Dominique de Villepin yesterday called the bid a problem because it includes no industrial project. Finance minister Thierry Breton has said he was concerned about the manner in which the bid was made.

The board of Arcelor, the worlds second-largest steelmaker, has unanimously rejected the hostile takeover bid by Mittal the largest producer of the metal. Arcelor has 27,000 workers in France.

The company was created in 2002, when Frances Usinor SA acquired Arbed SA of Luxembourg and Aceralia Corporacion Siderurgica SA of Spain. Mittal went against all rules of international finance in this field, Mr Loos said.

You dont approach a group like Arcelor, part of the cream of the European economy and of the French steel industry without giving notice, without talking, without a vision, with a common industrial project.

Mittal made its offer January 27, seeking to create a company that would control 10% of the worlds steel production. The combined company, with 320,000 workers in four continents, would pour three times more steel than its closest rival.

Arcelor shares were 45 cents, or 1.56%, higher at 29.35 euros at 3:45 p.m. in Paris.


...De Villepin says bid is problem

Feb 1: French prime minister Dominique de Villepin said Mittal Steel Cos 18.6 billion-euro ($22.5 billion) hostile bid for Arcelor SA is a problem because it includes no industrial project.

De Villepin, in an interview on France2s main evening news program, also said the bid reflects the need for French companies to better organise their capital to withstand attacks.