Esmark-led group to acquire Mittal Steel''s Baltimore plant

Mumbai: A multi-national group led by steel distributor Esmark Inc. will acquire Mittal Steel''s Sparrows Point mill near Baltimore, US, clearing the way for the steel giant to complete its acquisition of Arcelor SA.

Chicago-based Esmark has formed a joint venture - called E2 Acquisition Corp - with Brazilian iron-ore producer Companhia Vale do Rio Doce and Ukrainian steelmaker Industrial Union of Donbass Corp for the acquisition. Other investors include a European steelmaker and a South African company, which he did not name.

Esmark chairman James Bouchard said the company and its subsidiary Wheeling-Pitt will jointly lead the acquisition group.

The deal, valued at $1.35 billion, including debt and equity, is subject to approval by the US justice department and is expected to be finalised in 90 days, reports quoting sources close to the transaction said.

Mittal is selling the Maryland plant to comply with US antitrust rules and clear the way for its planned $41 billion acquisition of the Luxembourg-based Arcelor SA, which would create the world''s largest steelmaker.

Mittal said it would announce more details after receiving regulatory approval of the sale, which is expected to close by October 31.