Rags to riches

Steel producer and distributor ArcelorMittal has signed an agreement to buy RAG Beteiligungs’ shares in Saar Ferngas, a gas distribution company, for €367m.

The contract between ArcelorMittal and RAG, the Essen, Germany-based mining and technology group is subject to approval from the board and European antitrust authorities, and is expected to be completed at the end of this year. RAG had a 76.88 per cent stake in Saar Ferngas.

‘The sale of the gas distribution unit is a systematic step in the realignment of RAG Beteiligungs. This completes the refocusing of the Energy Business Area in particular to power generation from coal-fired power stations and renewable energies,’ said Dr Werner Müller, CEO of RAG.

The acquisition will also add to ArcelorMittal’s 20 per cent stake in Soteg, the Luxembourg gas distribution company, in which Saar Ferngas also holds 10 per cent.

In the financial year of 2006, Saar Ferngas reported sales of €1.492bn with earnings before tax and interest of €50m in the areas of trade and shareholdings in other entities.