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Rival bids slow down Corus takeover deal

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THE TAKEOVER of steelmaker Corus looked set to become a drawn-out affair after its board decided to adjourn two important meetings to discuss rival bids last week.

Corus shareholders had been due to meet to discuss the relevant benefits of two takeover bids tabled by Indian steel producer Tata Steel and Brazilian rival Companhia Siderurgica Nacional yesterday (December 20).

But the board decided to postpone the meeting until a later date after Tata upped its bid to 500p per share, an offer which CSN trumped almost immediately with a 515p per share bid.

The move is being seen by city analysts as an attempt to lure higher bids from potential suitors. One said: 'With shares trading at a higher price than the current highest offer this seems to be a fishing trip.'

Up to 50 firefighters battled a blaze at Corus' Scunthorpe production plant last week after 50 tonnes of molten steel leaked from an overhead ladle carrying white-hot liquid metal across the plant.

No one was injured during the incident and Corus claimed production was unaffected.