ArcelorMit­tal to sell Euro­pean steel as­sets to Lib­erty Group

Move clears reg­u­la­tory hur­dle for ArcelorMit­tal’s ac­qui­si­tion of Ilva

The Hindu Business Line - - PULSE - VIDYA RAM

San­jeev Gupta’s steel group Lib­erty is set to ac­quire the Euro­pean as­sets of ArcelorMit­tal, as Lib­erty House pushes for ex­pan­sion on the Euro­pean main­land fol­low­ing a rapid build-up in the UK.

The as­sets in­clude ArcelorMit­tal’s in­te­grated steel works in Ro­ma­nia and the Czech Repub­lic as well as rolling mills in Mace­do­nia and Italy. The ac­qui­si­tion will take Lib­erty’s steel rolling ca­pac­ity in Europe to around 10.5 mil­lion tonnes a year.

The deal — sub­ject to a con­di­tional agree­ment fol­low­ing a bind­ing of­fer from Lib­erty — will also be an im­por­tant step for ArcelorMit­tal.

The Euro­pean Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion had stip­u­lated the dis­posal of cer­tain as­sets as part of ArcelorMit­tal’s planned ac­qui­si­tion of Italy’s Ilva, Europe’s largest pro­ducer of flat car­bon steel.

Other as­set sales

ArcelorMit­tal is cur­rently in ne­go­ti­a­tion to sell other as­sets — as re­quired by the reg­u­la­tors — in­clud­ing in Lux­em­bourg and Bel­gium. The Ilva deal faced un­cer­tainty ear­lier this year amid signs of op­po­si­tion from the new Ital­ian gov­ern­ment. How­ever, fol­low­ing an agree­ment with unions in Septem­ber, the ad­min­is­tra­tion in­di­cated it no longer op­posed the deal.

Lib­erty said it had worked closely with ArcelorMit­tal to pre­pare a trans­ac­tion that met the reg­u­la­tory de­mands and cre­ated a “se­cure fu­ture” for the busi­nesses within the GFG Al­liance — Lib­erty’s par­ent group — as well as with gov­ern­ments and unions.

“Fol­low­ing com­ple­tion, Lib­erty in­tends to con­tinue to A worker pro­cesses liq­uid iron at an ArcelorMit­tal steel works in Os­trava, Czech Repub­lic (file photo)

in­vest­ing in the as­sets — which al­ready have many leadingedge fa­cil­i­ties — and aims to achieve greater com­pet­i­tive­ness through low-car­bon pro­duc­tion and closer in­te­gra­tion with added value down­stream man­u­fac­tur­ing,” said Lib­erty in a state­ment.

“These are high-qual­ity as­sets with highly-skilled staff,” said Gupta, Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man of GFG Al­liance. “We in­tend to work with lo­cal part­ners to po­si­tion our­selves strongly within the do­mes­tic

sup­ply chains of these fast-ex­pand­ing na­tional economies and be­come a piv­otal part of a thriv­ing Euro­pean in­dus­trial sec­tor.”

The sites will ex­pand Lib­erty’s range of steel prod­ucts in Europe and reach sec­tors in­clud­ing au­to­mo­tive, con­struc­tion, in­dus­trial ma­chin­ery and oil and gas sec­tors. Ear­lier this year, Lib­erty reached a deal to ac­quire Rio Tinto’s French alu­minium smelter. It said it ex­pected the deal to be com­pleted shortly.

REUTERS

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