India worried over French opposition to Mittal bid
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India worried over French opposition to Mittal bid

Kamal Nath said whatever the governments do, it must be conducive to the business atmosphere.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 10:54 IST

India has expressed concern over the French Government's strong opposition to Mittal Steel's hostile bid to take over its rival European group Arcelor.

"We are concerned about this," Commerce Minister Kamal Nath told reporters in London on Wednesday night when asked to comment on the French opposition to Mittal's bid.

In a daring bid, Mittal Steel offered a $22.7 billion bid for Arcelor last Friday but it has been stoutly opposed by Arcelor board backed by the French Government.

"India is watching closely the issue of the takeover of Arcelor made by Mittal Steel and the comments being made and the reactions of the French government on this," he said.

"As an Indian, I am happy about the bid made by an Indian, Lakshmi Mittal," Nath said, adding "we have very good relations with France. Whatever both governments do, it must be conducive to the business atmosphere of both countries."

"It's a business to business issue and when Lafarge, French building materials group, was taking over much of our cement industry, we welcomed it."

Nath said the issue did figure in his talks with the European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson earlier in the day.

He admitted that he did not know the merit of the case. "But these things are quite normal. It is a question of market access and cross border investment."

Mandelson said the European Commission would examine to see if the takeover deal contravenes competition rules, "if and when" the case is referred to the body.

First Published: Feb 02, 2006 10:54 IST