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Mittal hopeful of Arcelor deal by June

Written by: Staff
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London, Mar 20 (UNI) Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal expects to see his name as the owner of rival Arcelor by June this year.

Mittal, Britain's wealthiest man, is optimistic of his Euro 18.6 billion bid to create a European steel superpower.

Mittal said the protectionist backlash over his deal from France ''was a surprise for me''.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mittal said, ''Arcelor was itself created out of a merger. I'm surprised there was such a move against our proposal.'' He assured that the proposed merger would protect jobs and create a ''European global champion''.

''To create a strong European company, you don't need protectionism - you need an open economy and cross-border mergers and acquisitions. You have to create a European global champion to protect jobs - otherwise companies in Europe will be more susceptible to cheap products coming in from China and India,'' he said.

''That is what Mittal Steel/Arcelor is all about. We have promised there will be no job cuts and to continue to invest money and strengthen research and development.'' In an earlier interview for BBC Radio, Mittal had said he was confident that ''at the end of the day shareholders will make the right decision'' and ''we should be completing the merger before the end of June''.

''Since it was announced, the transaction has created value of more than Euro 7.5 billion for shareholders in both companies (through the rise in stock prices),'' he added.

He ruled out an all-cash bid, claiming that Arcelor shareholders would be happy to take just a quarter of the bid in cash.

Mittal will provide Arcelor shareholders with access to the US automotive steel market and the fast growth economies of China, India and Asia.

Arcelor brings the western Europe car market and the exciting South American steel industry.

UNI XC SR DB1844

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