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Mittal tightens grip on steel making giant, to be its chief

Indian-born Lakshmi Mittal has strengthened his grip on Arcelor Mittal, announcing Monday that he is to become the new chief of the world's largest steel maker//.

The move reverses a previous plan when former Arcelor chief Roland Junck was given the post of chief of the combined group, shortly after Arcelor agreed to a 22 billion euros merger (28 billion) with 56-year-old Mittal's giant Mittal Steel.

But in a new restructuring proposal issued with the company's latest results Monday, Arcelor Mittal chairman Joseph Kinsch said Mittal could now be taking up the job.

"It had become clear over the past months that the interests of the company were not best served by the previous structure," Kinsch said announcing the change.

Despite fierce opposition from Arcelor's management, Mittal secured a merger with Arcelor about five months ago.

"The overarching priority for Arcelor Mittal is to successfully integrate the two companies and deliver the merger synergies and benefits," said Mittal, whose son Aditya is chief financial officer of the combined group and was of the key architects of the merger.

Kinsch said the move to hand over the chief executive job to Mittal would help "to clarify the leadership of the company".

Coinciding with the announcement of the new structure, Arcelor Mittal said it posted a 24 per cent rise in third-quarter EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation).

The Luxembourg-based company described the results as "a strong result" with EBITDA increasing to 3.4 billion euros.

Arcelor Mittal, which had a combined steel production capacity about three times its nearest competitor, also confirmed its full-year guidance.

However, the drop in steel prices meant that third-quarter turnover slipped to 17.3 billion euros from 17.8 billion euros in the same period last year.


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