A Japanese steelmaker could become Mittal Arcelor’s next takeover target as the world’s No1 steel maker eyes technology for high-end automotive sheet, the head of Kobe Steel Ltd said on Tuesday. Kobe Steel president Yasuo Inubushi said the European steel giant, formed after Mittal Steel’s unsolicited bid for Arcelor last year, is entering a new stage in its expansion drive.
Mittal’s hostile bid for Arcelor last year has rattled current world No 2 Nippon Steel Corp, the biggest beneficiary of strong worldwide sales of Japanese cars made by Toyota Motor Corp and others, prompting it to raise defences. Nippon Steel quickly ditched its strategy focusing on high-end products, and has since been seeking growth in size by consolidating domestic and Brazilian firms, while boosting ties with Asian peers such as South Korea’s POSCO Ltd and China’s Baoshan Iron and Steel Co.
Its Brazilian affiliate Usiminas recently announced a $4.3 billion production expansion plan in Brazil, with full technological support from parent Nippon Steel. “We were lucky that Mittal turned to Arcelor last year, not to us,” Nippon Steel president Akio Mimura recently said on a TV programme about its efforts to avoid a hostile bid. Kobe’s Inubushi said his company had no plans to expand through mergers and acquisitions.
Source : Financial Express