PARIS: Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal hit back on Thursday at what he called ``disinformation'' about his company's $25.9 billion hostile bid for smaller rival Arcelor SA and said talks with European politicians had made ``good progress.''

Speaking during a visit to a Mittal Steel Co. plant in Gandrange, northeastern France, Mr. Mittal put aside his usual reserve to issue an uncharacteristically blunt response to arguments advanced by Luxembourg-based Arcelor, as it seeks to resist Mr. Mittal's offer.

Many of the claims have been ``disingenuous and misleading,'' Mr. Mittal said. ``It's natural that change should prompt concerns ... But it's wrong when people who should know better play upon such fears through use of disinformation.''

Defending the takeover plan, he rejected suggestions that the Rotterdam-based company was ``interested in scale for scale's sake.'' He also dismissed suggestions that its greater presence in developing countries and lower-grade market segments is a negative point. AP