ArcelorMittal’s takeover of Chinese steelmaker on hold: company

BEIJING, August 4, 2008 (AFP) – China Oriental said Monday a takeover of the firm by ArcelorMittal had stalled after Chinese regulators failed to give the green light to the proposed deal in the strategically key steel sector. China’s anti-trust regulator failed to approve the deal for ArcelorMittal to take a stake of more than 70 percent in Oriental before a May 9 deadline, and the bid had been put on hold, a spokesman for the firm said.

ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Mittal told the Financial Times that the Chinese government did not want a foreign steelmaker controlling a leading domestic steel firm, adding he would have to settle for a 30 percent stake.

“We may have to accept less than we wanted,” the Indian billionaire and majority shareholder in ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steel producer, was quoted as saying in the report.

“If this happens, I will be disappointed. But a stake in the company of 30 percent or so still is very useful for us,” he told the newspaper.

The development could be seen as a set back for his push into China, the world’s biggest steel market, but the Chinese firm’s spokesman said there had been no talk yet on ditching the move for a higher stake.

“We understand they a