EU Clears Proposed Takeover of Corus by Tata Steel

The European Union on Friday cleared the proposed takeover of British steelmaker Corus Group by India's Tata Steel.

The European Commission's antitrust office said the transaction "would not impede effective competition" in Europe. If completed, the deal would mark the biggest ever Indian takeover of a foreign company.

Tata Steel is in a battle for control of Corus with Brazil's CSN, and British takeover regulators early this week set a Jan. 30 deadline for both companies to come forward with new offers.

Brazil's Companhia Siderurgica Nacional SA had raised the stakes in the takeover war for Corus last week when it made a $9.6 billion bid that topped a sweetened offer by Tata Steel.

Corus is a producer of carbon steel and aluminum products. The Commission said in a statement it would accept the takeover because the activities of the two companies "only overlap to a limited extent.

Corus, which employs 47,300 people worldwide, has been searching for a business partner for a year.

The company -- formed through a 1999 combination of formerly state-owned British Steel PLC and Dutch metals producer Koninklijke Hoogovens NV -- is under pressure to link with a low-cost rival and has said it would make sense to find a partner with assets in countries such as Brazil, India and Russia, as rising raw material and energy costs in Britain and the Netherlands chip away at profits.

Tata Steel is considered a main player in India.