Arcelor Mittal forms JV with US auto steel maker Noble

Mumbai: Luxembourg-based steel maker Arcelor Mittal SA is merging one of its auto steel units with laser welder Noble International Ltd of the US in return for a 40-per cent stake in business and a $300 million payment.

Under the deal, Arcelor''s laser-welded tailored blank business TBA, the largest in Europe, will be merged with Noble, North America''s largest producer of laser-welded steel products.

The deal, when complete, would make Arcelor Mittal - the steel giant currently being formed by Arcelor SA and Mittal Steel Co. NV - Noble''s largest stockholder and strengthen Arcelor Mittal''s position as supplier of auto grade steel.

The combined Arcelor-Noble would have a revenue of $1.1 billion (€870 billion) and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, or EBITDA, of $122 million (€96 million).

The Arcelor unit employs 670 people at nine plants in Europe, one in the US and has a 25-per cent stake in a joint venture in China. The company expects revenues of around $500 million (€400 million) this year.

Noble, based in Warren, Michigan, has more than 2,000 workers at 12 plants in the US, Canada, Mexico and Australia. It expects 2006 revenue to hit $600 million (€474 million). Earlier this month, the company had acquired Pullman Industries Inc., which makes steel tubular parts for carmakers.