ECONOMY

Arcelor, Oyak get green light to buy Erdemir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European steel giant Arcelor and Turkish armed forces pension fund Oyak won permission from the European Commission yesterday for a joint venture to buy Turkish steel producer Erdemir. «The Commission found that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it,» the European Union’s executive arm said in a statement. In December, Oyak, a banking-to-automotive group, sold a 41 percent stake in the vehicle set up to purchase Erdemir. Oyak had made the highest bid of 2.3 billion euros for 46.12 percent of Erdemir in an October auction, trumping Arcelor and others. It was then obliged to buy a further 3.17 percent stake held by development bank Turkiye Kalkinma Bankasi. Guy Dolle, chief executive of Arcelor, which itself is the target of a hostile takeover bid by Mittal Steel, has said his company wanted to cement its presence in the Turkish market. «We want to develop our operations in Turkey and we received a proposal that would create the right level of value for our investors and provide a sustainable future for the Erdermir group,» he said last year. «With our local partners, we will increase the growth of our activities in Turkey.»