Friday, September 22, 2006

Posco Bitten By M & A Bug?

Whether it is the survival instinct or the ambition to climb higher, Posco - the South Korean giant and fifth largest steel manufacturer in the world is looking for acquisition opportunities in Asia. The move appears to have been triggered by the threat perception of the company itself becoming target for acquisition by bigger sharks like Arcelor-Mittal Steel which has emerged as the largest manufacturer with a capacity of 110 million tonnes. The corporate battle for merger of Arcelor the second largest steel manufacturer with Mittal Steels which was already in the top position was closely watched that lasted several months and created history of sorts. This classic M&A sent shock waves throughout the steel industry worldwide. Several leading manufacturers in China and even Tatas in India have already changed their holding pattern to pre-empt any hostile take-over bid.
Posco, on the other hand, appears more vulnerable at present as more than 60% of investors of the company are foreigners. Their strategy seems to bring change in ownership pattern by mergers and acquisitions. They are on the lookout for some companies in China and India. Fortunately for Posco, such plans can be translated to reality as they are cash-rich with an estimated $1.57 billion in reserve.They have already made a foray in India with a greenfield project to manufacture 12 million tonnes steel at an investment of $10 billion. As ill luck would have it, the project is hanging in the balance as land acquisition has not proceeded smoothly. The company has, however, embarked upon cross-holding ties with Japan's Nippion Steel Corp so that it does not become an easy prey to hostile take-over bids.
Let's see which way the wind is blowing.

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