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Ispat Intl in $17.8-b deal to form Mittal Steel — To merge with LNM Holdings, ISG

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Oct. 25

ISPAT International, owned by NRI business tycoon Mr Lakshmi N. Mittal, is set to emerge as the world's largest steelmaker on completion of a $17.8-billion deal under which the company is to merge with the Netherlands-based LNM Holdings and the US-based International Steel Group to form a new company, Mittal Steel Corporation.

The company announced on Monday that it has agreed to acquire LNM Holdings, which is owned by the Mittal family, for $13.3 billion in shares and the International Steel Group for $4.5 billion in cash and shares.

Mr L.N. Mittal will be the Chairman and Chief Executive of Mittal Steel.

Simultaneously, Ispat International and International Steel Group Inc announced that their boards of directors have unanimously approved a definitive agreement under which the two entities would merge.

"The combined Mittal Steel will be the largest and most global steel company in the world and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Euronext Amsterdam," a statement issued by the company said.

LNM Holdings is one of the world's largest and most profitable steel companies and also has substantial mining assets. Its revenues were $9.9 billion and operating income was $3.2 billion in the first nine months of 2004.

Upon completion of both the transactions, Mittal Steel will have operations in 14 countries, in four continents and will have 1,65,000 employees. The company expects pro forma revenues of over $31.5 billion and annual production capacity of 70 million tonnes for the year 2004.

Commenting on the merger deal, Mr Mittal said: "These transactions dramatically change the landscape of the global steel industry. We are bringing together Ispat International, LNM Holdings and ISG, one of the largest integrated steel producers in North America, creating a global powerhouse. In recent years, the steel industry has been characterised by predominantly regional consolidation. This combination represents a significant step forward in the globalisation of the industry."

Speaking about the future strategy of the combined entity, Mr Mittal said, "The combined company will have excellent positions in raw materials, particularly coal, coke and iron ore, as well as strong positions in key end sectors. This combination also provides Mittal Steel with a more significant presence in important industrialised economies such as those in North America and Europe and in economies that are expected to experience above average growth in steel consumption, including Asia and Africa. Finally, I am particularly pleased that Mr Wilbur Ross and Mr Rodney Mott, who formed ISG and transformed the US steel industry, will continue to have key roles at the new company."

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