French take on steel takeover 'protectionism': UK

2nd February 2006, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Feb 2, 2006 (AFP) - British Trade and Industry Minister Alan Johnson believes protectionist policies are "futile and self-defeating", the Financial Times reported on Thursday in an apparent reference to opposition in France and Luxembourg to a hostile takeover bid by Mittal Steel for Arcelor.

LONDON, Feb 2, 2006 (AFP) - British Trade and Industry Minister Alan Johnson believes protectionist policies are "futile and self-defeating", the Financial Times reported on Thursday in an apparent reference to opposition in France and Luxembourg to a hostile takeover bid by Mittal Steel for Arcelor.

The Financial Times quoted Johnson as saying: "There are advocates of protectionism amongst some of our closest European neighbours. Measures to protect key industries from foreign takeovers where there are no state security issues are futile and self-defeating."

He also said: "The paradox of protectionism is that it destroys what it seeks to protect."

France had said on Wednesday that it was opposed to the bid by Mittal Steel and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker has said that he is in line with the French position.

French Finance Minister Thiery Breton insisted on Thursday that hostile takeover bids were part of business life, but said that the government had the right to express an opinion.

Breton had previously expressed doubt that the marriage between the companies would work and had stressed the lack of an industrial plan from Mittal.

Mittal Steel sprang a 18.6-billion-euro (US $22.7-billion) bid for Arcelor on Friday in a deal to reinforce its already comfortable position as the world's biggest steelmaker.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

 

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