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
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
boksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
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

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Technical Software Consultant (Excel, VBA, SQL, JAVA, Oracle)

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...

SQL DBA/Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor