Arcelor also subscribed to a reserved capital increase in cash, following which it owns 50% of the holding company, while the remaining 50% is owned by the other main shareholders of Sonasid, including SNI.
Roland Junck, Senior Executive Vice President of Arcelor, commented: "The transaction carried out in agreement with our Moroccan partners will provide a basis for the consolidation and continued development of Sonasid's market positions with the benefit of technology transfers and Arcelor's expertise in long carbon steel products. It will also enable Arcelor to strengthen its positions on markets with high growth potential."
Hassan Bouhemou, Chairman and Chief Executive of SNI, commented: "This ambitious project will create value for Sonasid and all its shareholders. We are also in discussion with Arcelor concerning possibilities for Sonasid to provide a base for further development in the region."
In accordance with Moroccan stock-market regulations, the holding company will make a public tender offer for the purchase of all remaining Sonasid shares.
This offer, which remains conditional on the acceptance of market authority Conseil Deontotogique des Valeurs Mobilieres, will be on the same terms as applied to the transfers of Sonasid shares to the holding company by Arcelor and other main shareholders, with the price offered thus MAD 1,350 per share.
Sonasid (Societe Nationale de Siderurgie) is the mainstay of Morocco's steel industry, taking the number-one place for long steel products including concrete reinforcement and wire rod. Annual production capacity is around 1.4 million metric tons and 2005 sales revenues were close to MAD 4.7 billion or approximately EUR 433 million(1). Sonasid is listed on the Casablanca stock exchange, with market capitalization on 30 May 2006 close to MAD 7.3 billion.
About Societe Nationale d'Investissement
Founded in 1966, SNI (Societe Nationale d'Investissement) is a financial holding company listed on the Casablanca stock exchange. An active participant in the projects creating value for the country, its main equity investments are in ONA, Lafarge Maroc and Sonasid. It is the main shareholder of ONA, Morocco's leading private financial and industrial group. Consolidated revenues for the year to December 31, 2005 amounted to MAD 1.9 billion or approximately EUR 176 million, and consolidated net result came to MAD 681.5 million or approximately EUR 62 million.
Arcelor is the number one steel company in the world with a turnover of 32.6 billion euros in 2005. The company holds leadership positions in its main markets: automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging as well as general industry. The company - number one steel producer in Europe and Latin America - ambitions to further expand internationally in order to capture the growth potential of developing economies and offer technologically advanced steel solutions to its global customers. In 2006, Arcelor employs 110,000 associates in over 60 countries. The company places its commitment to sustainable development at the heart of its strategy and ambitions to be a benchmark for economic performance, labour relations and social responsibility.
For more information visit www.arcelor.com
(1) EUR 1 = 10.9085 dirham at 31 December 2005