Mittal loses its mettle

Mittal Steel, whose recent $22.3 billion bid for Arcelor was rejected, has announced a 28.4 per cent drop in annual profits.

The company reported net income of $3.365 billion in 2005, compared with $4.7 billion in 2004, blaming the slide on rising costs and a number of acquisitions and reorganisations.

However, the Anglo-Dutch company showed an upturn in the last quarter of 2005, with net profits rising 36 per cent to $7.05 billion.

Chairman and CEO Lakshmi N. Mittal said that Europe needs a stronger steel sector to compete with China. Luxembourg-based Arcelor rejected Mittal’s $22.1 billion bid at the end of January, amid opposition from the governments of Luxembourg and Spain and concern about job cuts in France.