ArcelorMittal shareholders approve Arcelor merger deal

Mumbai: Shareholders of ArcelorMittal today approved the planned merger of Arcelor and Mittal Steel, with 99.5 per cent of the votes cast in favour of the move, at an ArcelorMittal EGM in Luxembourg.

Shareholders have now given their final approval for ArcelorMittal, the world''s largest steelmaker, completing the process of merger between the two former rivals - Mittal Steel and Arcelor SA, then the world''s Ni 1 and No2 steel makers respectively.

While Arcelor shareholders in June 2006 accepted a €26 billion ($37 billion) friendly offer from Mittal, investors representing six per cent of the stock decided not to tender their shares.

ArcelorMittal, whose shareholders approved the deal in a meeting today, is now offering eight of its shares for seven in Arcelor to the minority stockholders. It had offered 11 for seven in last year''s takeover.

The minority shareholders, comprising Deminor, Trafalgar and SRM Global, have said they represent 9 million shares. They tried unsuccessfully to stop the merger arguing the exchange ratio is too low.

At a separate news conference, these shareholders said they would launch legal proceedings against ArcelorMittal over the merger terms.

"ArcelorMittal has taken €1 billion of value from Arcelor minorities and its actions are a flagrant abuse of European corporate governance standards," they said in a joint statement.

They also that they intend to launch legal proceedings "against any party liable, without distinction, in any possible jurisdiction in order to recover the losses resulting" from the lower ratio.

ArcelorMittal has repeatedly dismissed criticism that it was paying too little and said it was confident the exchange ratio reflected the intrinsic value of both companies.