Arcelor dumps buyback plan

Luxembourg-based Arceor Steel has called off a meeting of shareholders who were due to vote on a share buyback plan on Wednesday. The move comes amidst continuing talks with rival Mittal Steel over takeover of the company.

Arcelor said the move is aimed at facilitating a solution in the light of the ongoing discussions with and Mittal.

Most of the shareholders, market analysts and industry experts say, are opposed to Arcelor''s move to align with Russian steel maker Severstal while Mittal has claimed the support of 30 per cent of Arcelor shareholders for its takeover bid. It looked unlikely that Arcelor would get shareholder support for the buyback.

Arcelor''s move is seen by many as its latest bid to ward off Mittal Steel which is orchestrating a take-over. Mittal, who is in talks with Arcelor, meanwhile said it is positive on the success of the take-over bid. Analysts see the cancellation of the buyback meeting as positive news for Mittal Steel.

Arcelor needs backing of two-thirds of the shareholders for the buyback proposal. Carlo Tassara International, one of the single largest shareholder, had earlier said it would vote against the €44-a-share buyback offer.