High-level talks over Mittal-Arcelor takeover
6 February 2006, BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and the Wallonian and Flemish premiers entered into talks with Mittal Steel boss, Lakshmi Mittal, on Monday to discuss the company's bid to buy out rival firm Arcelor.
6 February 2006
BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and the Wallonian and Flemish premiers entered into talks with Mittal Steel boss, Lakshmi Mittal, on Monday to discuss the company's bid to buy out rival firm Arcelor.
Earlier on Monday, Verhofstadt, Wallonian Premier Elio Di Rupo and his Flemish counterpart Yves Leterme met with Arcelor chief Guy Dollé.
Leterme said after the meeting with Dollé that Belgian government representatives were in a phase of "information gathering", while Di Rupo described the current situation as an "analysing" phase.
Both of the regional government leaders stressed the importance of continued steel industry employment and investment, financial newspaper 'De Tijd' reported.
Leterme said further that Belgian government officials are trying to obtain "maximum guarantees" for investment and employment from both Arcelor and Mittal.
He hoped to hear on Monday what Mittal planned to do with the Arcelor factories in Belgium, Sidmar and ALZ, stressing that he wanted "insight in an industrial project".
Arcelor chief Dollé had earlier given his opinion of the company's future activities in Belgium and its counterstrategy to Mittal.
Di Rupo said Arcelor's strategy will be analysed based on issues of employment, production, research and development and investment.
Arcelor's board of management rejected late last month Mittal Steel's EUR 18.6 billion takeover bid and urged its shareholders to do the same.
But German newspaper 'Tagesspiegel' has reported that the Rotterdam and London-based Mittal is now trying to gather the support or Arcelor employees for the takeover bid.
The newspaper said Mittal would enter into talks with German union IG Metall this week.
Luxembourg is the largest single shareholder in Arcelor with a stake of 5.6 percent. Wallonia also holds a 2.3 percent stake and is still analysing its position.
The Luxembourg and French governments have previously said they are against the takeover bid.
It Mittal succeeds in taking over the Luxembourg-based firm, the deal would create an industry giant, accounting for about 10 percent of the world's total steel output.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news