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Arcelor/Mittal confirm outlook, to name CEO Friday

Written by: Staff

BRUSSELS, Aug 2 (Reuters) Steelmakers Arcelor and Mittal Steel confirmed their combined 2006 financial targets and said the management team which will lead the new steel giant would be announced Friday.

The chairmen of Arcelor and Mittal Steel said during a conference call with journalists on Wednesday they would propose a board of managers to Arcelor's directors on Friday.

''After the agreement of our board of directors, we will announce immediately the names of the members of the new management and also the name of the new chief executive,'' said Arcelor chairman Joseph Kinsch.

After a highly politicised near six-month takeover battle in which Arcelor sought an alternative merger with Russia's Severstal, Mittal Steel announced last week it held 92 percent of the shares in Arcelor.

Arcelor board member John Castegnaro told Reuters on Wednesday that two current members of the Luxembourg-based company's management board were serious candidates to replace Chief Executive Guy Dolle.

Deputy CEO Michel Wurth and Roland Junck, Senior Executive Vice President, were both strong candidates, he said.

''I know them both and I believe they are very serious and hard working candidates,'' he added.

The Arcelor/Mittal group said it expected 2006 EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) to reach 12 billion to 12.5 billion euros (.94 billion to .2 billion) and for the third quarter alone of 3.1 billion to 3.3 billion euros.

FUTURE DEALS Arcelor and Mittal executives told journalists they could not legally sell Canadian steel producer Dofasco, acquired earlier this year by Arcelor, putting an end to speculation about the future of that arm.

Mittal had previously said it wanted to sell Dofasco, which Arcelor bought for around billion, to Germany's ThyssenKrupp, which had bid against Arcelor for the Canadian group.

''It is not legally possible to sell Dofasco,'' Arcelor Chief Financial Officer Gonzalo Urquijo said.

Aditya Mittal, Chief Financial Officer, said the company led by his father Lakshmi would instead divest other assets in North America to address competition concerns of U.S. regulators who fear the combined group will have too much market power.

Also on the mergers and acquisitions front, executives from both companies told reporters they were still confident Arcelor would be able to buy a 38 percent minority stake in China's Laiwu Steel.

The China Iron and Steel Industry Association, which represents the nation's 16 largest steel mills, has voiced opposition Arcelor's acquisition of a stake in a Chinese mill, Chinese media reported on Wednesday.

Regarding Brazil, where a regulator has recently ruled that Mittal must buy out minority shareholders in Arcelor Brasil, Mittal said it had decided to appeal the decision.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that a Brazilian buyout could increase the cost of Mittal's tie-up with Arcelor by as much as 5 billion euros (.38 billion).


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