EU to probe European steel merger

European Commission will investigate merger of French steel maker Usinor with Arbed (Luxembourg) and Aceralia (Spain)

The European Commission will investigate the merger of French steel makerUsinorwithArbed(Luxembourg) andAceralia(Spain). The three companies officially announced their merger on Monday 19 February. The newly-combined group will have a market capitalisation of more than 5 billion and will be theworld's largest steelmakerwith production capacity of around 50 million tonnes of steel per year, almost double its nearest rival, Japan's Nippon Steel.

The Commission's competition unit, which has been notified last week about the upcoming merger, will be examining carefully themarket dominanceof the new merger in the flat carbon steel market where the three companies will have around 40 per cent of European production.

The EU last year blocked the attempted merger between aluminium groups Pechiney, Alcan and Algroup. But industry analysts say it is doubtful that the steel merger would be blocked on competition grounds.

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