Luxembourg parliament drops controversial proposed change in takeover laws
BRUSSELS, Belgium – Luxembourg’s parliament Thursday dropped a proposed change to the country’s takeover laws that could have helped Arcelor SA fight off a hostile bid from rival steelmaker Mittal Steel Co.The Finance and Budget Committee scrapped the proposal that would have stopped companies resubmitting an offer for a year after the failure of a previous bid, Luxembourg’s Chamber of Deputies said on its Web site.The amendment could have prevented Mittal from putting in a revised offer if its current 19 billion euro ($23 billion) bid for Luxembourg-based Arcelor is unsuccessful.Arcelor took defense moves against Mittal this week, raising its dividend for shareholders and launched moves to prevent Mittal from selling Canada’s Dofasco Inc., which Arcelor won in a bidding war in January.Luxembourg’s parliament is due to vote on a new takeover law May 4 to bring the country’s legislation into line with EU rules. The Luxembourg government and the head of the parliamentary committee have said the changes should deal with general issues and not interfere with Mittal’s bid.The Luxembourg government is Arcelor’s largest shareholder with a 5.6 percent stake in the company. Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker has so far refused to sell to Mittal.The company is Luxembourg’s largest employer with some 6,000 workers in the Grand Duchy. Netherlands-based Mittal has promised the merged company would remain based in Luxembourg.