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ArcelorMittal Plans $1.7 Billion Buyout of China Oriental

ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, plans to pay at least $1.7 billion for all of China Oriental Group's shares it does not own, boosting its footprint in the world's top consumer and producer of steel.

ArcelorMittal, which bought a 28.02 percent stake in the Chinese steel maker for HK$5.02 billion last month, will offer not less than HK$6.12 per China Oriental share, the companies said in a joint statement on Friday.

That represents a 13 percent premium to China Oriental's closing share price of HK$5.4 each prior to a trading suspension on November 7.

Hong Kong's takeovers and mergers panel had ruled that ArcelorMittal and China Oriental's controlling shareholders had acted in concert and that triggered an unconditional mandatory general offer, China Oriental said.

ArcelorMittal said it intended to keep China Oriental's listing status.

ArcelorMittal also signed an agreement to share technology, technical expertise and know-how with China Oriental with an aim to transform the Chinese firm into a leading producer in the industry in China.

ArcelorMittal would assist China Oriental in sourcing iron ore and coal, they said in the statement.

"We have made no secret of our wish to participate more actively in China's fast-growing steel market, and the agreements we have signed are a major step forward in delivering that strategy," chief executive of ArcelorMittal, Lakshmi Mittal, said in the statement.

Mittal said last week that ArcelorMittal was in talks with the company's controlling shareholders to buy an additional 43 percent stake, lifting its holding in the Chinese steel maker to 71 percent from 28 percent.

He also said he hoped to increase ArcelorMittal's stakes in other joint ventures with Chinese state-owned steelmakers, even as the government forbids foreign control of major steel companies.

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