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Written by: Staff

BRUSSELS, Apr 11 (Reuters) The chairman of Russian steel maker NLMK , Vladimir Lisin, is interested in buying a stake in rival Arcelor and met Luxembourg Economy Minister Jeannot Krecke to discuss it, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

Krecke told Luxembourg daily Tageblatt that the Russian may want to buy into Arcelor , which is seeking to fend off a 20 billion euros ($24.3 billion) unsolicited takeover offer from sector leader Mittal Steel .

The Luxembourg state owns 5.6 percent of Arcelor, which is based there, and was once one of the most vocal opponents of Mittal's bid.

It has since changed its stance, saying the market should decide the fate of the company.

Krecke, who is leading a Luxembourg business delegation in Russia, confirmed to Reuters that he had met with Lisin, but could not give further details.

An Arcelor spokesman declined to comment.

According to a previous Russian media report, Lisin is considering buying a 15 percent stake in Arcelor, which could possibly hinder Mittal's bid.

French minority shareholder advocacy group ADAM voiced concerns last week that Arcelor may go ahead with a capital increase ahead of Arcelor's April 28 annual general meeting.

ADAM is concerned that a rights issue could dilute the voting rights of current shareholders and water down their share of a 5 billion euro cash distribution Arcelor has pledged if the Mittal offer fails.

($1=.8248 euro) REUTERS CS PM1453

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