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Why is Severstal better for Arcelor?

Willingness to escape from Mittal at any cost is troubling some shareholders.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 12:40 IST

Arcelor's tie-up with Russian steel giant Severstal has raised doubts in some quarters with a shareholder activist claiming that the deal was to escape the Mittal offer at "any cost".

"Arcelor's directors will have to explain, above all, why a creeping takeover by Severstal is preferable to the open bid made by Mittal," Colette Neuville, President of the French Association for the Defence of the Rights of Minority Shareholders said.

"This willingness to escape from Mittal at whatever cost is troubling some shareholders," Neuville told "Le Soi", Belgium's leading French-language newspaper.

Arcelor must be "coherent", she said, pointing out that "after having denounced all the flaws in Mittal's bid, Arcelor must now explain in what way Severstal is more complementary, and jus how the management of a Russian conglomerate listed on the Moscow exchange, and run by an oligarchical billionaire, is better."

Neuville said Mordachov must bid openly for Arcelor (as Mittal has done) "in order to allow shareholders to choose."

She maintained that as he will own 33.3 per cent of Arcelor-Severstal, he must bid for the company, as required under the company law of Luxembourg.

Since the bid by Mittal Steels remains open, it was asked to her whether "Mittal could in the end find himself a minority shareholder in Arcelor, alongside Mordachov."

Neuville claimed that this would amount to a "fiasco for Arcelor "as it could result in the company being "controlled by two rival groups." Such a situation "could quite simply result in the company being carved up," she said according to India News in Europe Programme.