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ArcelorMittal increases stake in Australian coal miner

ArcelorMittal SA, the world’s largest steelmaker, said it had increased its stake in Australian miner Macarthur Coal Ltd. to just under 20%, days after talks on a possible takeover ended without a deal. ArcelorMittal increased its stake from 14.9% to 19.9% by paying A$212 million (US$207 million) for an extra 5% of Talbot Group Holdings, owned by Macarthur founder Ken Talbot. It said the purchase was in line with recent moves to secure its own supplies of key raw materials as global prices soar. Macarthur supplies more than a third of the world’s pulverized coal, which is used to heat steel furnaces. Macarthur said it welcomed ArcelorMittal as a substantial shareholder and wanted a long relationship with it as a customer. ArcelorMittal, which produces some 10% of the world’s steel said it has now spent A$843 million (US$822 million) building up its stake in Macarthur. (June 30, 2008)