Euro steelmakers petition to block bid

A merger of BHP and Rio’s Australian iron ore assets could increase benchmark prices, Euro steelmakers say.

European steelmakers have called on the EU antitrust regulators to block the joint venture between the iron ore miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, saying it could increase iron ore prices. The steelmakers claim that allowing a combining of BHP and Rio’s Australian iron ore assets would allow them to share information on outputs and production, which could affect industry negotiations regarding benchmark prices and volumes.

The steelmakers stated that the resulting joint venture will have the same impact on the iron ore market as a merger between Rio and BHP.

Following an abandoned takeover bid by BHP for Rio, which was opposed by EU regulators, the two miners are now planning a joint venture project to pool all of their iron ore assets in Western Australia.

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