Arcelor dogs Chirac, Mittal shadow on visit | india | Hindustan Times
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Arcelor dogs Chirac, Mittal shadow on visit

FRENCH PRESIDENT Jacques Chirac admitted on Monday that he had ?difficulty in understanding the (Mittal-Arcelor) controversy?. Nonetheless, much of the joint press conference by him and the Indian PM revolved around Lakshmi N. Mittal's bid for the European steel company.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 01:33 IST

FRENCH PRESIDENT Jacques Chirac admitted on Monday that he had “difficulty in understanding the (Mittal-Arcelor) controversy”. Nonetheless, much of the joint press conference by him and the Indian PM revolved around Lakshmi N. Mittal's bid for the European steel company.

Justifying the French opposition to the proposed takeover, Chirac said Europeans had “legitimate concerns”. He was, however, willing to wait for Mittal Steel's final offer for Arcelor.

“In principle, we’ve absolutely nothing against a non-European taking over a European company,” he said. “The situation as it stands right now is this: quite simply, a hostile bid has been made — contrary to practice, with no prior explanation and no reason given — on a large European company.”

Chirac said it was equally the right of Europeans to care about their jobs and future. “The concerns that've been expressed are entirely legitimate,” he said. “I do not understand what the fuss is about.”

The Indian government has been backing Mittal's $22.5-billion bid. Apparently, India took up the issue during the one-to-one meeting between Chirac and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday.

Singh confirmed that the issue came up during the meeting. The PM said he hoped a fair decision would be taken, considering the interests of all stakeholders.