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UK's piece of advice to allies on Mittal

British High Commissioner Sir Michael Arthur said they could draw a leaf from British experience with globalisation.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2006 22:43 IST
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Be open minded, this is an era of globalisation, is Britain's piece of advice to its European partners opposing UK-based steel tycoon LN Mittal's Arcelor takeover bid.

Putting his point forward, British High Commissioner Sir Michael Arthur said they could draw a leaf from British experience with globalisation.

"We as a govt in the last 20 years have not resisted overseas hostile takeover bids. In 1970s, our car industry died. But it has now been completely revived on the back of modern technology and investment from Japanese carmakers such as Honda. We as a govt are quite pride of it. Britain now produces more cars than France. Last year we produced 1.6 million cars.

"That's the difference of vitality between Britain and those who are opposing Mittal Steel's bid," he said.

Sir Michael said the only thing to be seen was if Mittal was a globally competitive steel maker.

Asked about Luxembourg's plans to bring a legislation, which was aiming at thwarting the bid, Sir Michael said, "Things are there very small. As a government they have part shares in the company and since they are a shareholder they are worried about employment.

"In Britain we used to have big steel manufacturers which produced high-steel products but we have reduced it considerably because India, China and Korea are more competitive and that's the way it will be.

"We are re-positioning ourselves as high-end knowledge economy because that's where we think our future is going to be. And you (India) are actually good at it too, in financial services and BPOs but there is room for both of us. We believe in global partnership," he said.

The Netherlands-based Mittal Steel has made a $22.3 billion bid for Arcelor, which would create a steel company with an output three times bigger than its three nearest rivals combined.

The bid has sparked objections from the governments of France, Luxembourg and Spain and from labour unions, who are worried about job losses even though Mittal has assured that no worker will lose job and cited all his operations in various countries had not resulted in retrenchment.