EU Competition Commissioner attempts to calm hostility to L N Mittal's Arcelor bid

Kroes has stated that the European Commission would evaluate the offer purely on grounds of competition. Mittal Steel's offer was greeted with shock and outrage not only by Arcelor's board but by European politicians. The French an and some governments, as Arcelor is a major employer in Europe.

She said that she was not concerned by the size of the merger, but would examine the bid "on competition grounds and on competition grounds only."

Kroes assured members of the European parliament that the offer would probably be referred to the competition Commission, Europe's competition regulator and would be looked into very carefully.

The French and Luxembourg governments have expressed deep concern about the implications arising out of the take-over bid for employment and investment.

He flew to Luxembourg for a meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg, where he assured the PM that all commitments made by Arcelor would be honoured. Mittal described his today's talks as "constructive".

The government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the largest shareholder in Arcelor with a 5.6 per cent stake and Arcelor is the third-largest employer in Luxembourg.