Arcelor raises interest in Morocco steelmaker Sonasid in association with SNI and local partners
Arcelor, Société Nationale d'Investissement (SNI, Morocco) and the other main shareholders of Sonasid (Société Nationale de Sidérurgie) including MAMDA-MCMA, Axa Assurances Maroc, RMA-Watanya, CIMR and Attijariwafa bank have transferred their interests in Sonasid to an ad hoc holding company on the basis of a price of MAD 1,350 per Sonasid share. The transactions were pursuant to the strategic partnership for the development of Sonasid agreed on by these companies on March 3, 2006. The holding company now owns 64.86% of Sonasid's equity.
Sonasid (Société Nationale de Sidérurgie) is the mainstay of Morocco's steel industry, taking the number-one place for long steel products including concrete reinforcement and wire rod. Annual production capacity is around 1.4 million metric tons and 2005 sales revenues were close to MAD 4.7 billion or approximately EUR 433 million . Sonasid is listed on the Casablanca stock exchange, with market capitalization on 30 May 2006 close to MAD 7.3 billion.
Arcelor also subscribed to a reserved capital increase in cash, following which it owns 50% of the holding company, while the remaining 50% is owned by the other main shareholders of Sonasid, including SNI.
Roland Junck, Senior Executive Vice President of Arcelor, commented: "The transaction carried out in agreement with our Moroccan partners will provide a basis for the consolidation and continued development of Sonasid's market positions with the benefit of technology transfers and Arcelor's expertise in long carbon steel products. It will also enable Arcelor to strengthen its positions on markets with high growth potential."
Hassan Bouhemou, Chairman and Chief Executive of SNI, commented: "This ambitious project will create value for Sonasid and all its shareholders. We are also in discussion with Arcelor concerning possibilities for Sonasid to provide a base for further development in the region."
In accordance with Moroccan stock-market regulations, the holding company will make a public tender offer for the purchase of all remaining Sonasid shares.
This offer, which remains conditional on the acceptance of market authority Conseil Déontotogique des Valeurs Mobilières, will be on the same terms as applied to the transfers of Sonasid shares to the holding company by Arcelor and other main shareholders, with the price offered thus MAD 1,350 per share.
(Note: euro1 = 10.9085 dirham at 31 December 2005)