|Calcutta: ArcelorMittal plans to scale up Essar Steel's capacity to 8.5 million tonnes in the medium term if it manages to win the bid, the company informed shareholders while declaring a robust first-quarter result that saw a net income of $1.19 billion, backed by the highest steel margin in nearly six years.|
The Luxembourg-based company did not give any indication on how aggressive it was going to be for Essar but said the asset provided a compelling opportunity to enter a high growth market like India.
During the conference call in the afternoon, financial analysts questioned the impact of the Essar acquisition as in January, ArcelorMittal had said it would prioritise deleveraging until it achieves a net debt target of $6 billion from the level of $11.1 billion as of March 31, 2018.
Genuino M. Christino, vice-president of finance, said ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal would jointly control Essar, which would be an associate company and not consolidated to the balance sheet of ArcelorMittal. This could indicate that Essar would not derail ArcelorMittal's plan to pare debt as it had done over the last decade, bringing down the burden from $30 billion post acquisition of Arcelor by Mittal Steel.
However, there is evidently a lot of fire power within ArcelorMittal to go miles for Essar. It reported a liquidity of $7.8 billion, consisting of cash and cash equivalents (including restricted cash and short-term investments) of $2.3 billion and $5.5 billion of available credit lines as of March 31, 2018.
During the conference call, company officials declined to give a time frame on when the Essar deal may be complete, saying it was a competitive process with lots of "moving parts".
Numetal, the company's competitor for Essar, moved the NCLAT on Friday, challenging the disqualification as a resolution applicant by a lower court. The NCLAT will hear the matter on May 17.