ArcelorMittal denies deal to buy out Tauron from joint venture

GDANSK (Reuters) – Steelmaker ArcelorMittal on Wednesday denied buying out Polish utility Tauron from their joint venture Tameh Holding.

“ArcelorMittal disputes Tauron’s statement that it has exercised its put option and has not purchased any of Tauron’s shareholding in Tameh Holding”, Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal said in a statement.

ArcelorMittal holds a 50% stake in Tameh Holding via two of its subsidiaries, with Tauron owning the rest.

On Tuesday, Tauron said it had accepted an offer from ArcelorMittal’s AM Global Holding, under which the Polish utility would sell all of its 3.3 million shares in Tameh Holding for 598.1 million zlotys ($150 million).

Tauron spokesperson Lukasz Zimnoch told Reuters the company had decided to exercise a clause in a shareholders’ agreement that gave it an option to sell its stake in Tameh to the ArcelorMittal group.

“The main reason behind the impasse are outstanding obligations that Liberty Ostrava steelworks has towards Tameh Czech, which operates within Tameh Holding. This led to the Czech company (Tameh Czech) filing for bankruptcy”, he said.

Tameh Czech had been supplying energy to Liberty Ostrava, which is the Czech Republic’s largest steelmaker, but was unable to continue business operations because of unpaid dues.

ArcelorMittal said it intended to discuss the matter with Tauron.

($1 = 3.9880 zlotys)

(Reporting by Anna Koper; Writing by Mateusz Rabiega; Editing by Mark Potter)