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Australia's Smorgon says ends Bluescope talks

Written by: Staff
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MELBOURNE, Nov 20 (Reuters) Australian steel maker Smorgon Steel Group Ltd. , the target of a A$1.6 billion ($1.2 billion) takeover bid by OneSteel Ltd. , said on Monday it had ended talks with BlueScope Steel Ltd. over Bluescope's blocking stake.

''Little progress has been made over the past few months, and the current stance taken by BlueScope on a range of issues means that further negotiations on the same basis are unlikely to be productive, and are only likely to cause further delay and frustration,'' Chairman Graham Smorgon told the annual meeting.

BlueScope has a 19.9 percent stake in Smorgon, blocking the takeover by OneSteel. BlueScope said last week that negotiations between the companies were continuing.

Chief Executive Ray Horsburgh also told the annual meeting that demand for the company's products was strong in the current financial year.

REUTERS DKS PM0547

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