Mittal charm offensive fails to halt flak over £13bn bid for Arcelor

Mr Mittal, who stunned the steel industry last week with his unsolicited bid for the world's second biggest steel producer, had what insiders described as a "full and frank" meeting in Paris with Thierry Breton, the French Finance minister.

His whirlwind tour of Europe will take him to Luxembourg today for a meeting with the Prime Minister Jean-Claude Junker, followed by talks on Wednesday with Belgium's Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, and the European competition commissioner Nellie Kroes. On Thursday he is due to meet Spain's Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose Economy minister echoed French concerns about the proposed takeover.

M. Breton said he had complained to Mr Mittal during the one-hour meeting about the lack of advance warning of the bid and spoke of his "profound concern" at its potential effect on Arcelor's 30,000 employees in France, which accounts for one-third of the group's EU operations.

Mr Mittal later told journalists in Paris the $40bn (£23bn) merger of Arcelor and his family-controlled Mittal Steel, the world's biggest producer, would not mean any job losses or plant closures. He also sought to emphasis Mittal Steel's European credentials and the fact that Arcelor shared its view that the worldwide steel industry needed to consolidate.

But Arcelor brushed this aside, describing the two companies as "diametrically opposed" and pouring scorn on Mittal's safety record, productivity, investment levels, employment policies and standards of corporate governance. During a presentation of what amounted to a full-blown defence document, Guy Dollé, Arcelor's chief executive, described the Mittal bid as "hostile, opaque, opportunistic, high-risk, destructive, prejudicial, threatening and unbalanced". M. Dollé claimed that Arcelor was 30 per cent more profitable than Mittal Steel.

He also claimed that, whereas Arcelor's accident rate had fallen by 75 per cent in the past four years, the rate at a former Arcelor plant in France now owned by Mittal had soared 10-fold.

Mittal and its advisers, Goldman Sachs and HSBC, said they were not going to get into a point-by-point rebuttal. But a spokeswoman said: "It is odd for Arcelor to claim the bid came without warning and then come out with a fully fledged defence document, which it said it had been working on for eight months."

When Mittal Steel's cash and shares offer was launched on Friday, it valued Arcelor at €28.21 a share (£19.30). The offer last night stood at €30.80, making it worth €19.7bn. Analysts doubt Mittal will succeed at the current offer price, even if it overcomes political hostility, and will need to raise the bid to €35.

Should the bid succeed, the group would have 10 per cent of the world steel market, €69bn in annual sales and 320,000 employees. The Mittal family would reduce their share of voting rights from 97 to 64 per cent and would retain just over 50 per cent of the economic interest.

Suggested Topics
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?