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Thu, Jun 15, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Arcelor to be temporarily removed from exchanges

AFP , PARIS

European steelmaker Arcelor is to be temporarily removed from the CAC 40 and SBF-120 exchanges in Paris at the end of trade tomorrow for technical reasons related to Mittal Steel's offer for the group, bourse operator Euronext said yesterday.

It said its expert commission took the decision "for strictly technical reasons."

"It is intended to prevent any threat to the normal completion of arbitrage operations, notably on the CAC 40 index, during the offer, and does not in any way assume any particular outcome for the operation under way," it said in a statement.

Arcelor on Tuesday again vaunted its controversial plans to merge with the Russian group Severstal, a day after formally rejecting Mittal Steel's bid while signaling that it might welcome an improved offer.

Mittal Steel responded by dismissing claims that an Arcelor-Severstal tie-up would deliver shareholder value and said Arcelor would "sell itself at a discount to an inferior partner" if the merger was pushed through.

Mittal Steel and Arcelor executives met late on Tuesday and were to have another meeting yesterday to discuss the former's hostile bid for the latter, sources close to Arcelor said.

One source said: "Members of Arcelor's management on Tuesday met with leaders of Mittal and another meeting is scheduled for Wednesday [yesterday]."

Arcelor chief Guy Dolle was not present at Tuesday's talks, said the source, declining to reveal where they were held.

Another source close to the European steelmaker said "contacts are under way between the two groups."

Arcelor's board is encouraging shareholders to back its plans to merge with Severstal.

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