Arcelor Mittal in race to acquire Mitsui stake in Sesa Goa

Mumbai: Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steel maker, is in the race to acquire India's top private iron ore producer, Sesa Goa, newspaper reports quoting Arcelor Mittal chief executive Lakshmi Mittal said.

Arcelor Mittal is expected to bid for Japanese trading giant Mitsui's 51 per cent stake in Sesa Goa for about $1 billion (Rs.4,437 crore). Besides the Luxembourg-based company, Anglo-American and Rio Tinto also appear to be in the race for the mining property

The European steel maker's CEO and largest shareholder, Lakshmi Mittal, has confirmed his company's interest in buying the Indian ore producer. He said that a new wave of takeovers in the global steel industry was very much on the cards after his takeover of Arcelor and Tata's purchase of Corus.

Mittal said that further consolidation would be led by the Russians, who are already active in the US, as well as the Indians, Chinese and Brazilians.

Sesa Goa had said last month that Mitsui wanted to sell its holding in the company. Sesa owns iron ore mines in Goa, Karnataka and Orissa and exports mainly to China, Japan and Pakistan.

Other companies also reported to be in the fray for Mitsui's stake are the London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc, Australia's BHP Billiton and the diversified Aditya Birla Group.

Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steel-maker, also forecast that it would deliver even stronger profits in its first full year as a combined group, after posting $15.3 billion (Rs67,886.1 crore) pre-tax earnings in 2006, up from $15 billion in 2005.