Paris: Top global steel producer ArcelorMittal said on Wednesday it plans an offer of stock and subordinated notes to raise $3.5 billion (2.7 billion euros) to reduce its massive debt that has worried investors.
“ArcelorMittal intends to use the net proceeds from the combined offering to reduce existing indebtedness,” the company said in a statement.
The announcement sent ArcelorMittal shares down more than five per cent in afternoon trading on the Paris stock exchange.
At 1252 GMT the company’s shares had fallen 5.4 per cent to €12.70 while the overall market was stable.
The offering of common stock and mandatorily convertible subordinated notes would be made in the United States, said ArcelorMittal, and reserved the right to adjust the proportions.
“Deleveraging remains a priority for ArcelorMittal to retain strategic flexibility,” said the company.
It said the offering plus other measures should enable the company to reduce its net debt to approximately $17 billion by the end of June, from approximately $22 billion at the end of 2012.
The three top ratings agency’s stripped ArcelorMittal of an investor-grade rating at the end of last year citing the company’s massive debt amid sluggish global steel sales.
“We have consistently said that reducing net debt is a priority for the company,” chief executive Lakshmi Mittal was quoted as saying.
“This transaction, supplemented by proceeds from ongoing asset disposals, the announced reduction in dividends and continued cost saving initiatives, will significantly lower our net debt and accelerate the achievement of a medium term net debt target of $15 billion.”
Existing shareholders will receive a preferential allocation of new shares, and the Mittal family which controls the company has indicated its intention to participate to a total extent of $600 million.
The three-year notes will carry average interest of 5.875 per cent to 6.375 per cent. They will be mandatorily convertible in ArcelorMittal shares at their expiration or earlier under certain circumstances.
ArcelorMittal also confirmed its guidance of full year 2012 EBITDA operating profit of approximately $7 billion.