Lakshmi Mittal in Rio Tinto takeover bid

LONDON: India-born steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal plans to enter the takeover battle for mining company Rio Tinto, a leading financial daily has claimed.

Mittal, the main shareholder in world’s leading steel maker company ArcelorMittal as well as its Chairman and Chief Executive, is keen to secure larger supplies of iron ore, the Financial Times has said.

Rio, world’s biggest iron ore producer, is the subject of a contested bid by Australian mining group BHP Billiton worth about 160 billion dollars at current share prices.

Bankers believe Rio’s iron ore assets are currently worth about 50 billion dollars, but this figure could fall sharply in the next few months, particularly if the boom in steel-making starts to peter out.

However, ArcelorMittal declined to comment on market speculation.

ArcelorMittal announced yesterday that it had paid 212 million Australian dollars ($204m) to raise its stake in Australia’s Macarthur Coal, the largest exporter of pulverised coal used in steel-making, by five per cent to 19.9 per cent.

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