`Tatas will make further announcement'

  • CSN bid higher by 15 pence than Tatas' revised offer
  • Pension trustees to support Brazilian company's bid

    LONDON: In a dramatic fight for acquisition of THE Corus Group, Brazilian steel company CSN on Monday offered 515 pence a share, 15 pence more than the Tatas made earlier in the day, prompting the Anglo-Dutch company to recommend the higher offer to shareholders.

    Within hours of Tata Steel's bid of 4.7 billion pounds (nearly Rs. 41,000 crore), CSN, high on support from pension trustees for its increased commitment to their fund, piped the Indian corporate giant with a cash offer of 4.9 billion pounds (Rs. 42,700 crore).

    Acknowledging the counter bid, Tata Steel said it was now considering its position and "will make a further announcement in due course.''

    The winner for Corus will be decided by the shareholders on December 20, when they meet for the Extraordinary General Meeting.

    Commenting on the competitive bidding, Corus Chairman Jim Leng said: "This offer (CSN's 515 pence) is higher than both the initial proposal (of 475 pence) by CSN and the revised Tata offer of 500 pence per share.

    "It is also consistent with our strategic objective of securing access to raw materials, low-cost production and growth markets. The combination of the two businesses will create a stronger platform from which to compete and grow in an increasingly global market.''

    CSN Chairman and CEO Benjamin Steinbruch, announcing the higher offer, said: "This is a winning combination for all stakeholders... Our goal is to unlock the value of our iron ore assets through Corus, transforming them into cost-effective, high quality steel products...''

    Earlier in the day, Tata Steel Chairman Ratan Tata had said: "We remain convinced of the compelling strategic rationale of this (Tata-Corus) partnership and the revised terms deliver substantial additional value to Corus shareholders.''

    It was, however, not clear whether the Tatas would revise their bid. The battle for takeover of Corus, which would make the new combined entity the fifth largest steel player, has caught the eyeballs of bankers, investors and analysts almost in the same fashion as when Mittal Steel acquired Arcelor for $35 billion to become the world's largest steel producer. PTI

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