World Business Quick Take


Wed, May 10, 2006 - Page 10

■ Takeovers
Mittal rebuffed again

Mittal Steel, the world's largest steelmaker, said yesterday it had been in renewed contact with Luxembourg-based rival Arcelor over a takeover bid but had once more been rebuffed. Mittal chief executive Lakshmi Mittal said he was willing to consider a revised offer, as the company held its annual general meeting in Amsterdam. Mittal has offered 18.6 billion euros (US$23 billion) for Arcelor but has met opposition from Arcelor's board and the French government, which owns a stake in the company. "I am disappointed that at this stage I do not discern a willingness on the part of Arcelor to enter into meaningful discussions to reach a recommended transaction, which would surely be in the best interests of all stakeholders," Mittal said.

■ Film

CGI firm files for bankruptcy

Silicon Graphics Inc, a pioneer in computerized special effects for movies like Jurassic Park, filed for bankruptcy protection, with an agreement to give noteholders a majority stake in the company. The filing comes two months after Silicon Graphics said it would reduce its global workforce by about 250 jobs, or 12 percent, by the end of the year in a move to cut costs. Silicon Graphics said it will file a plan within 30 days that will outline a strategy to exit bankruptcy and repay creditors. The company reached an agreement with noteholders, who have agreed to lend the company US$70 million on the terms of the plan yesterday, according to papers filed with the US Bankruptcy Court in New York.

■ Banking

Lone Star head arrested

The head of US investment fund Lone Star's office in South Korea was arrested yesterday as part of a probe into the company's alleged illegal activities, prosecutors said. Yoo Hoe-won, 56, was arrested on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust, prosecutors said. Lone Star, which bought a 51 percent stake in Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) for 1.38 trillion won (US$1.5 billion) in October 2003, has been investigated for allegedly evading tax payments and illegally transferring US$8.6 million overseas. Prosecutors are also looking into allegations that the government rushed through the 2003 sale of KEB. Critics say the authorities artificially lowered KEB's capital ratios, which measure the health of a bank, to below statutory minimums to ensure a quick sale to Lone Star.

■ Automobiles

Accused boss steps down

Toyota Motor North America's president and chief executive officer, accused in a sexual harassment lawsuit, has stepped down, the company said yesterday. To replace him, Toyota named the first American president of its US subsidiary. Hideaki Otaka, 65, who had been scheduled to leave his post in June, has voluntarily left earlier, saying his staying on was not in the company's interests. He said he was innocent of the charges. Replacing him as the new president is Jim Press, now president of Toyota Motor Sales, the US sales unit of Toyota Motor Corp. Otaka was accused in a US$190 million sexual harassment lawsuit filed in New York. In the suit, Sayaka Kobayashi accused him of repeatedly making unwanted sexual advances after she began working as his personal assistant in the middle of last year.