A consortium of Asian steel companies, including Posco of South Korea and China Steel of Taiwan, has agreed to buy a 15 percent stake in one of ArcelorMittal SA’s (AMS:MT) iron ore units for $1.1 billion.
The Luxembourg-based seller opted to divest an interest in ArcelorMittal Mines Canada after it took a hit of about $49 million on $19.7 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2012. Lakshmi Mittal, ArcelorMittal’s chief executive and controlling shareholder, has attempted to sell off assets worth $4.2 billion since September 2011 as a means of reducing a daunting debt load. ArcelorMittal, as of Sept. 30, has roughly $23 billion in debt.
As a result of the transaction, the buyers will be able to tap ArcelorMittal’s Canadian iron ore mines. The assets produce up to 40 percent of Canada’s iron ore, which is transported from land near Labrador City, located close to the Quebec border.
ArcelorMittal will retain an 85 percent stake. The deal is expected to close by the second quarter of 2013.
In December, ArcelorMittal took a $4.3 billion impairment charge on its business units in Europe, where it manufactured 46 percent of its steel in 2011.
ArcelorMittal expects the sale to help pay for a $1.2 billion expansion of its present 16 million tons a year mines to 24 million tons. Should the company end up with 30 million tons of output, Posco and China Steel would contribute in proportion to their stakes.
In May 2012, AXA Private Equity agreed to buy ArcelorMittal’s 23.5 percent stake in energy company Enovos International SA for €330 million ($427.9 million).