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Mittal to defend Europe from China

"If we do not have a large European company, we will not be able to stand against China," the steel magnate said.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2006 17:11 IST

Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal wants to buy Arcelor to defend Europe from Chinese competition, he was quoted as saying on Friday.

Mittal Steel, the world's biggest steelmaker majority owned by the Indian-born billionaire, has made an unsolicited bid of some $24 billion for Arcelor.

The bid has been rejected by Arcelor.

"If we do not have a large European company, we will not be able to stand against producers (and) exporters such as China," Mittal was quoted as saying in an interview with Brussels weekly European Voice.

"What do you want out of this economic patriotism? A strong European company, a strong European champion. This is the merger of two European companies: no job cuts, better future, better product, more investment."

The deal has been criticised by some European politicians who fear job losses.

As a result, Mittal has been visiting politicians and journalists across Europe to try to win support for his bid, insisting that he held their best interests at heart.

"We have to defend, to protect our jobs, make the industry stronger," he said.

He reiterated that the acquisition of Luxembourg-based Arcelor by Mittal Steel - based in Rotterdam - would not lead to job cuts.

"We will honour all commitments that Arcelor made in terms of employees, growth, investment," he said. "I am also sure there will be no job cuts."

First Published: Feb 10, 2006 14:40 IST