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Mittal for more acquisitions in Europe

The NRI steel tycoon plans to acquire three more steel plants in Europe.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, London
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2005 04:01 AM IST

Close on the heels of acquiring 37 per cent share in a leading Chinese steel firm, Mittal Steel Company headed by NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal plans to acquire three more steel plants in Eastern Europe and Turkey at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion.

Mittal plans to bid around $1 billion for a 49 per cent stake in Eregli Demir Celik Fabrikalari (Erdemir), which is being sold by the Turkish government.

It faces tough competition from Arcelor, the Luxembourg-based group that Mittal recently overtook to become the world's leading steel maker, and US Steel of America, daily 'The Independent on Sunday' reported.

Erdemir is the world's 13th largest steel maker and is listed on the Istanbul stock exchange. Whoever buys the state's stake is expected to take over management of the group. A preferred bidder is due to be announced within weeks, the report said.

Mittal is also putting in an offer for Vitkovice Steel, the Czech producer put up for sale by the state on Thursday. Again, Arcelor and US Steel are the main rivals. Mittal is already the largest steel maker in the Czech Republic, though the international nature of the business means there are likely to be few anti-trust problems. Analysts expect it to be valued at more than $200 million.

Its main rival is Donbass, a Ukrainian steel business controlled by Rinat Akhmetov, the oligarch who owns the Shakhtar Donetsk football team. Akhmetov was a strong supporter of Leonid Kuchma, the outgoing Ukrainian president.

Yushchenko has vowed to reduce the influence of oligarchs in the former Soviet state.

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