Study of Company A
Corus Steel was formed in 1999 as a merger of British Steel and Koninklijke Hoogovens. This company had a strong presence in the UK and the European markets. This was dented by the Mittal Steel takeover of the Acelor. Acelor was a major European player while Mittal had a strong presence in the UK as well as in Asian and American markets. Their merger dented the market share held by Corus as well as a threat to Tata Steel in the growing Asian market.
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Presence of Corus in the UK found its market dented in the UK, Europe and its presence in the Latin American, Asia, South Asia, Middle East and Africa. These were major geographical zones that Corus was working in. Corus manufactures specialty steel for Aerospace, Automotive, Consumer products, Construction, Defense, Energy, Rail, Ship building, Engineering, Packaging and yellow Goods. They had to consolidate their position at the same time and that might be a hard fight against Mittal – Arecelor particularly after the take over of Arecelor.
Corus Steel is the second largest steel producer in Europe and strong presence in automotive, construction and packaging verticals of the industry. At a turnover of PDS 9.73 billion and an operating profit PDS 457 million, the company could bring down the net debt of the company to PDS 564 million, returning better books in the last year, 2006. The major objective of the company was two: One, the long term existence of the business and future growth of business and two, getting the best deal for the shareholders.
The Decision: Taking this into account the company made a strategic decision in 2006 to go for an auction based take over bid supervised by UK Takeover and Merger Panel. And the bid of Tata Steel was found to be the most profitable bid for them amounting to 608 pence per ordinary share of the company. In addition to this wealth making for the shareholders, the company will also ensure that it becomes a part of the larger group which will be the world’s fifth largest steel maker.
Though the management of the Corus Steel would pass over to the Indian company, it will be good for both the customers of the company as well as the employees. A strong presence of the group in all the markets across the world and in all verticals would make the group grow faster. The company will also become an end to end producer of all steel products.
The company which had a net debt to write off will now have some thing to offer to the share holders. The market price of the ordinary share of the Corus group closed at 392.2 p on 3rd Oct 2006 just a week before the closing of the deal with the Tata Group. This indicates the nature of gain the Corus share holders enjoyed after the take over and the offer that was almost double the market price of Corus in the market. That was certainly highly profitable to the Corus shareholders, what with 35 million shares changing hands the company was valued at over PDS 5.5 Billion. With debts at over just PDS 500 million, this was a great reflection of the good times the share holders would now have.
Study of Company B
Tata Steel was the world’s most profitable steel company. Its operations were restricted to South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific-rim countries. It was a vertically integrated steel producer from India which had strong mining strengths in Iron ore and other related mining products that will be a deciding factor for the steel industry. While it enjoyed strong presence for specific products like Chrome concentrate, up to about 25% in China and Japan. Together China and Japan account for nearly 40% of the world steel consumption. That being the growing market, it is only imperative that the company repeated looks at it rather than at other sections of the world trade.
Tata Steel strategized that there is no major gain in launching green field projects in any of the new and upcoming markets or large markets. Typical large markets are the North American and the African. There is no reason to set up a new factory simply because the steel capacity in the world is over 15% in excess of the requirement. Therefore, they decided to go in for an acquisition spree to expand their operations and become global players rather than set up new units in different parts of the world. And the company was already producing products for construction, automotive and other similar industries. There was a strong need to have a merger that will add value to their product line as well as add market sections that is not hitherto in their cross wire.
The Tata group is in a wide range of products and services. But Tata Steel is specialized and wants to work only in the specific niche segment. A company of over INR 200 billion, the company made a profit of INR 42 billion in the year ending 2006. The overall results of the company have been encouraging and the share price of the company has been continuously growing reflecting the investor confidence in the company.
This also was beneficial to the company in cashing it to mobilize the funds that are needed for the acquisition. The company has an operating history of over one hundred years and is a large scale profit making unit all through. A continuous modernization and an aggressive marketing is in place in the company. This makes the company a very suitable buyer for a company like Corus.
The Decision: For Tata Steel, its presence in the European market and in the highly quality conscious market of North America was really too small. Though the company has been exporting for the last 25 years, it has mostly been ore. Graded and quality products seem to be always sought after from other sellers in Europe and Japan. Now, the company had to reverse the trend and make global buyers turn their eyes to India for their good quality steel needs as well. In addition, the company also has to rope in a company where its own good practices would produce better results for every one concerned.
The shareholders of the company will ultimately gain out of the venture that the company was bidding for. With this in mind, the company if it could merge with Corus will end up as the fifth largest steel maker in the world and will be able to compete with others in the business with equal might from its then 65th position in the world of steel. This would also ensure that their low cost in production arising primarily due to the low sourcing cost of material and optimal production processes will help the company to meet the marketing challenge that is difficult for other competitors to emulate.
By paying a large price to the shares of Corus, Tata Steel has moved over to the big league. The result of the gains to the Tata Share holders will be visible only after the gains that Tata Steel gets are fully cashed. The company should be able to make inroads in the European, North and the South American markets where Corus has a strong presence. This would reflect in the growth to the share holders in the subsequent two to three years performance. The company should also be able to leverage the large mining facilities it has in India through this.